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Volunteer abroad, Gap year in Rio de Janeiro

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What is a volunteer job

Volunteer service contributes to the well-being of an individual or the community, and is usually coordinated by a non-profit or public sector organization, and often it does not pay any salary or wage. However, there are programs where volunteers (especially for international programs) in which accommodation, meals, flights, and sometimes a small amount of money is provided.

Volunteering in Brazil

Many organizations prefer monetary donations to short term volunteer workers. Some NGO´s accept help simply in the hopes of showing their work and gaining donations.

Most volunteer opportunities in Brazil come as a travel abroad program. The biggest area of need is in working with children. There are educational projects, aiding street children, AIDS education and more. There are also many programs in which services are provided to the poor.
These opportunities are usually paid, inclusive opportunities where lodging, meals, travel, language classes, and sometimes airfare are included in the fee to participate. The organizations are usually international funded and offer a rare insight into Brazil, as well as an opportunity to work with people from around the world.
Programs last from one week to several months and the cost varies. The least expensive volunteer openings are with placements in education, childcare, or community projects while exotic opportunities working with marine mammals can cost much more. Fees not only facilitate your stay, they progress the program. Scholarships may be available through the organization.

If the current opportunities don't fit your needs, it is possible to create your own volunteer experience by contacting a Brazilian NGO directly. This makes the experience quite independent and much less expensive than paying for a program. This option also increases the chance for mistakes and would take a substantial amount of time to secure. It would be extremely beneficial to be able to speak Portuguese if you choose this route.

Several aid organizations, both with built in programs and without, include:

The Developing Minds Foundation - a not-for-profit that builds schools and sponsors education programs in favelas in Rio de Janeiro. Partnered with Uniao de Mulheres, a successful locally-run group the two offering complementary academic and extra-curricular training in a dynamic learning environment.

Associacao Iko Poran - works with NGOs in Rio de Janeiro to promote community development projects in low-income communities. Programs range from 2 to 24 weeks, with lodging included (but not food). Portuguese courses are available for a fee.
Rua Doutor Julio Otoni 571,
Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro RJ,
CEP: 20241-400, Brazil
Phone: 011-55-21-2205-1365,
fax. 011-55-21-2205-2765

Global Vision International - GVI offers volunteer conservation work in Brazil. This includes working with river dolphins at the internationally known Mamirauá Institute for Sustainable Development on the Amazon River and helping to protect Humpback whales in the state of Bahia
Global Vision International
252 Newbury Street, Number 4
Boston, MA, 02116, USA
Phone: Toll free 888-653-6028

I-to-I - Various programs like teaching English and community development in Rio de Janeiro. Food, lodging, training, travel and health insurance are included.
190 E. 9th Ave.
Denver, CO 80203
Phone: 800-985-4864
fax. 303-765-5327

Volunteer Brazil - Volunteer work placement that combines volunteering with travel in Brazil. There is a variety of positions, including community volunteer work, street children and orphanage aid, conservation, teaching English, health-care, and music education.

Travelers Worldwide - offers child care projects in Rio de Janeiro. Travelers volunteers provide day care to children between the ages of 3 - 6 in crèches, government run facilities that enable parents from poor families to seek employment without the burden of childcare.

You might also look at our other articles on Summer Jobs and Internship abroad on the left column of this page.

Update 29/05/2010


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