About the Community Volunteer Project in Brazil
The goal of all of the volunteer programmes in Brazil is to make a positive impact on Brazilian society and on the projects in which they take place, and promote intercultural exchange. It is the ideal travel experience for those who want to go beyond the ordinary.
- Environmental Volunteering
- Carnival Preparation Volunteering in the Samba Schools (November to February)
Each project type cater to the specific challenges that the community face benefiting the communities they serve in. Volunteers will have the opportunity to actively participate in community development efforts, whilst at the same time having the rich personal opportunity for cultural exchange. All programmes will take fully or partially place in a favela within the city of Rio de Janeiro. In general, volunteers work between 10 to 20 hours per week.
Environmental Volunteer Programme
Volunteers on the environmental programme help support and develop some of Rio’s most precious natural spaces, while providing alternative solutions to low-income communities on how to dispose waste and recycle.
The programme combines work at a community vegetable garden in a local neighbourhood (favela) and the Tijuca National Park. In the favela, the work can include gardening, cleaning, digging, planting etc. together with a group of gardeners. Volunteers help the gardeners and have the chance to experience favela life.
The Tijuca Forest is the world’s largest urban rainforest. At the national park, there is a wide range of activities that might include clearing trails, cutting branches, species monitoring, painting fences and more. The work at the park might take place in 2 different sites.
Volunteers work in the community garden on Mondays and Tuesdays, and at the National Park on Wednesday and Thursdays. Once a month (Saturday), there is a big community gathering in the forest where volunteers have the chance to meet many like-minded Brazilian and foreigner volunteers.
Both projects are only in the mornings from 9-12am before the sun gets too strong. Volunteers will then have afternoons free as well as Fridays to explore Rio de Janeiro.
Carnival Preparation Volunteer Programme
From November-February, the Carnival Programme allows volunteers to get involved in the preparation and hard work that goes into one of the biggest parties on the face of the earth! Samba schools competing at the Carnival have a full year of intense work to prepare the many floats, costumes, music and dances. Samba schools are born from the local favelas and most of the schools take their names from the community they represent. Each school unifies and proudly represents people from that community, and all Cariocas (Rio-born Brazilians) also have their favourite school.
Volunteers help some of the leading samba schools in the preparation of costumes or decoration of the floats – you don’t need any special skills, just a willingness to work hard. Whilst you are hard at work you can also engage in some Portuguese and English language exchange with your fellow workers. There are many large warehouses available where each school of the Special Group (the best schools) has the space to build and store their floats and work on their costumes. Volunteers are also welcome to go to the rehearsals at the Samba school to see the amazing samba dancers, hear the bateria (drum group) and hopefully learn some new moves.
Please note! The dates for Carnival change every year (it’s held 40 days before Easter). Volunteers do not get to participate in the Carnival parade for free. This is an extra and needs to be arranged separately in-country with the local staff.
“In the past 15 years, I have witnessed the social and environmental achievements that volunteers have been part of in Rio de Janeiro. It really inspires me when I hear the local communities being so appreciative for receiving committed and hard-working volunteers that have assisted them in their work over the years.” – Project Director in Brazil