Harm Jaap Hartmans, from the Netherlands, volunteered at the project:
My Working Abroad adventure in Rio started right after the Olympic Games. Volunteer work seemed to offer a good opportunity to experience the real Rio after living three days in an Olympic bubble.
I have gone to many language schools all over the world, but I never did volunteer work abroad. So I did not know what to expect. Fortunately this is an organisation with many years of experience of hosting volunteers. The hostel where most volunteers stay is very nice and I felt at home right away. It is conveniently located between the nightlife scene of Lapa and the touristic area of Santa Teresa.
Right after my arrival I received some useful safety tips and an orientation tour in the neighbourhood. The next day staff accompanies volunteers to their projects. I did not work on a particular project. Initially I wanted to work on the preparation of Carnaval, but that project did not start before November. So I chose NGO development. Since I work in advertising, I became a communication consultant for the NGO.
It was a balanced mix of work and pleasure. So next to enjoying the great music scene in Rio, I went on a weekend trip to Iguaçu Falls. Felipe, the director, also regularly organises great barbecues for all the volunteers. I will never forget my trip to Rio. In one word, it was really “maravilhosa”!
Katharina Strienz from Germany speaks about her time on the Carnival Preparation in Samba schools programme:
For four weeks I was working in the Samba school Salgueiro for Carnival preparation. The other people there were all very friendly and tried to communicate with us, even they spoke nearly no English. They work from 9am to 7pm, but we could come and go whenever we wanted to. Our task was to help in a room where costumes were made. For that reason we had to cut and glue a lot. Once we had to draw and cut several hundred circles. Even the work sometimes could be a little bit boring it was a great experience to do it, to get involved in this big event, to get to know the people there and to feel their enthusiasm for Carnival and their job!
Rio de Janeiro is one of the most marvellous cities of the world and I was really happy to volunteer there. Everyday of the week there is something different to do, you can visit so many sights and beautiful places. During the six weeks I have been there I’ve never been bored. The only thing every future volunteer has to be sure of, is that it’s a very very big city and you have to schedule a lot of time to get around.
Because I already did another voluntary work in Argentina with another organisation I can compare the two programmes and I want to compliment the Carnival preparation in Rio. It was a great experience: I got to know many nice people, a wonderful city, country and culture! I will recommend it!