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Volunteer | Community Development

Health Education Volunteer Project in Brazil

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Duration: Minimum 3 weeks, maximum 6 months commitment

Start Dates: Project is on-going, and you can join at any time, depending upon availability. Arrival dates on the 1st and 3rd Sunday of each month.

Cost: $739 USD / £599 GBP for the first 3 weeks, price staggered for longer stays. See Costs tab for further details

Includes: all accommodation, breakfast, donation to project, orientation, airport pickup, intensive Portuguese lessons course (for stays of 4 weeks+) and integration into the project

Does not Include: lunch & dinner, criminal background check, flights, insurance, visas and vaccinations


  • Hands-on experience working with at-risk youth in vibrant Rio de Janeiro.
  • Ideal for those studying education, public health, community welfare or anyone with an interest in helping out in at-risk communities.

This project places you in one of the most iconic cities in the world – Rio de Janeiro. Perhaps best known for the annual Carnaval, the city is also famed for its laid-back attitude, gorgeous beaches including Copacabana and Ipanema and for the simply stunning landscape as pictured on millions of postcard featuring the world-famous ‘Christ the Redeemer’ statue.

And yet, there is also a dark side to Rio, with the infamous favelas and their drug lords taking centre stage of the widespread social issues connected with the city.

You will be working together with an NGO that was set up as a way to provide help for those at the margins of Brazilian society. The core belief of this organisation centres on the idea of cultural exchange between you as a volunteer and the local community and the long-term benefits this can bring for both sides. These projects are community-run by local people who know the city intimately and understand its needs. This program provides an excellent opportunity for you to gain valuable knowledge and experience while at the same time helping to generate income and employment opportunities in the community. And of course, the benefits of living in one of the most exciting cities in the world!

Your daily schedule will be worked out together with the in-country coordinator upon arrival in Rio de Janeiro and you may work part- or full time, at least 10 hours a week.

In a country where the healthcare system is still very much in development, low-income and at-risk communities are often the first to suffer from the lack of healthcare infrastructure and need to rely on external NGOs and local community groups for healthcare advice and education. The onus of providing effective health awareness education therefore lies on the community itself. As a volunteer on this program, your help is vital to help develop and implement healthcare strategies and activities in such communities throughout Rio de Janeiro. For this project you should have a background in healthcare, with a strong passion for sharing your knowledge and skills with those less fortunate.

Upon arrival you will be met at the airport by a project representative and taken to the project HQ.

You will be staying at the beautiful Volunteer Guesthouse located in the Santa Teresa neighbourhood in Rio de Janeiro, located within easy walking distance of many bars and restaurants, supermarkets, bakery and public transport links.

Santa Teresa is known as a very atmospheric neighbourhood with a bohemian tint and intense cultural life. Notable features include lots of unusual architecture, winding cobbled streets and the 110—year old tram still running through the area. With it’s great views over the city, this is a great base from which to explore all the highlights of ‘The Marvellous City’.

The house is fully equipped with kitchens, cleaning service and free Wi-Fi. You will be sharing bedrooms together with other volunteers; each room comes equipped with bed sheets and towels. There are numerous laundry services available nearby.

  • Minimum age 18.
  • Passion and enthusiasm for working in healthcare, lots of energy and creativity.
  • No previous skills are necessary, however you will need to speak English at a native or near-native level.
  • Minimum high school education
  • Necessary vaccinations.
  • Necessary flight & visas.
  • Full travel & medical insurance. Please see our info pages for more information and to get a quote.
WeeksTotal (USD)Total (GBP)* 

* Currency conversions are approximate
** stays of 4 weeks+ include a 20 hour intensive Portuguese lesson course
*** All payments incur a 5% bank transfer fee.
**** Admin fee of $150 included
***** Places are confirmed with a $150 deposit.

What's Included:

Includes all accommodation, breakfast, donation to project, orientation, airport pickup, in-country support, intensive 20 hour Portuguese lessons course (for stays of 4 weeks+) and integration into the project.
Our coordinators will make sure you have everything you need.

What's not included:

Lunch and dinner, flights, insurance, criminal background check, visas (if applicable) and vaccinations. Full assistance will be provided in getting all these arranged if you choose our Premium Support.

You should budget around $100 per week for basic expenses.

Placement Support Package

For your trip, we will help you organise and plan everything you will need from start to finish. Our coordinators know each project & country like the back of their hand, and will be able to offer personalised advice to ensure your trip is well-planned & executed to perfection.

This includes one-to-one assistance planning and booking; 

  • Pre-departure Support - Flights, Visas, Vaccinations, Insurance, Essential Items and anything else you will need before you set off.
  • Ongoing In-country Support - whilst you are on the project you can Contact us at any time with any questions or concerns and we will do whatever we can to help.
  • 24/7 Emergency Support - a phone number that you or your family can ring at any time, night or day in case of emergency.

Our Placement Support Package costs £349 / $449 / €425 per person, and can be purchased once you are ready to confirm your place.

  • What impact(s) or benefits (upon the local community or environment) does this project have (tailor this to all the different projects you have)?
    A: The most important thing we learnt from the volunteer motivations is that we have to manage expectations, especially in the first weeks of their arrival. We have to realize that most of the time we are dealing with young, eager people, who want to be productive and give a purpose to their project. In simple words, they want to work and see results.But when you start working, you will realize that it is often very difficult to work in the way you are used to work. You may find yourself in a different culture where things work differently. Of course you all know this before they arrive, but knowing it and experiencing it is a big difference.We tell our volunteers that you should wait, take a deep breath, and watch things develop in a different way, without trying to control things all the time. We also tell our volunteers that being productive is not the most important thing, and that this insight will be one of the big learning experiences of a volunteer.We have learned that volunteering is not only about being productive, especially when you work in needy communities, but also that it is  you presence that counts.
  • Is the area I am staying and working in safe?
    A: The hostel is totally safe and Rio is like any other big city in the world: it is dangerous for those that don't pay attention and think that nothing may happen to them. We tell our volunteers to keep a low profile, don't stand out and they will not have any problem.
  • Will I have access to internet?
    A: There is free Internet access (wireless) at the accommodation 24x7. There is only one computer available for the guests, so it is advisable that you bring your laptop or Pad.
  • Should I bring my phone/laptop?
    A: It is safe to bring your laptop as long as you look after your belongs. Volunteer will be sharing the hostel with other guests. There are cameras in the common areas, but they should keep their valuable things inside their locker or room when they are not around.
  • What will my accommodation be like?
    A: We have established a partnership with a very nice hostel. Volunteers share rooms reserved mainly for our volunteers. This hostel is located in Santa Teresa neighbourhood of Rio de Janeiro and has TV, computer (free Internet 24x7), fully equipped kitchen, swimming pool, dinning room, veranda, cleaning of the house, and many other facilities. Linen is provided, just bring a bath towel.
  • How do I get from my accommodation to the project each day?
    A: Public transportation (metro or bus). Local staff take them to the project on the first day of the placement showing how to get public transportation means to go and to come back.
  • Will I have access to clean drinking water?
    A: Yes, filtered and purified water is available.
  • Are the vegetarian meal options available?
    A: because most volunteers have different eating habits (vegans, kosher, white meat only, etc.) and we cannot cook a whole buffet every day, our programs are self-catered. The house has a fully equipped kitchen that volunteers can use to prepare their meals. Upon arrival volunteers receive guides and maps that include supermarkets and tips of good restaurants.
    Brazil is a relatively inexpensive country for foreigners, but it all depends on your lifestyle. A meal at a restaurant may be as cheap as R$ 15.00 in healthy popular restaurants or up to R$ 100.00 in nicer places.
    Breakfast is included and consists of: bread/ cake/ cheese/ ham/ jelly/ fruit/ coffee/ milk/ tea.
  • Can I bring my pet?
    A:Unfortunately it will not be possible to bring your pet.
  • What essential items would you recommend I bring?
    A: The most important thing that you can bring with you is positive energy, an open heart, a do not expect a strict structure, but be open minded to the unexpected things that may happen. About materials: Our teaching projects in Brazil require energetic, positive and dedicated individuals. To get the most out of your placement it is important that you prepare well for your teaching adventure. Devise lesson plans, bring Portuguese/English ESL teaching aids, take advice from people with teaching experience, anything to give you a head start once you get in the classroom.It is generally recommend waiting until you are in country before buying general resources for your project, such as stationary, since almost everything can be bought cheaper locally. And spending your money in Brazil will benefit the local economy. Young Children: You will be basically developing recreational and educational activities. So, it will be very good if you can plan some games and bring a few resources with you. However, please only bring what you can fit into your standard bag and do not exceed the baggage allowance (as you may be asked to pay large amounts of money to bring them in).Health awareness materials should be visual rather than text-heavy.It is recommended for the sports/surf programs to bring running shoes, rash vests and a half wetsuit for the winter – a rash vest is sufficient in the summer months.
  • Will I likely be participating with other interns/volunteers?
    A: Most of the times we place more than one volunteer at each project, depending upon the time of year and how many people we have booked.
  • When is the best time of year to come (in terms of weather, available activities etc.)?
    A: All year round, busiest periods are Jan-March (our summer) and June-Sept (summer on Norther hemisphere)
  • Are there any health concerns I should be aware of (dengue, malaria etc.)?
    A: There is no malaria in Rio de Janeiro, only on the northwest part of the Amazon. Dengue occurs more often  in the summer, but it is not a major disease. Volunteers should use insect repellent and take tylenol in case of Dengue. Zika is only dangerous for pregnant women, 80% of people that have it do not even develop any symptoms.
  • How far is the nearest hospital/clinic?
    A: 5 minutes walking distance from the hostel.
  • What extra costs should I factor in (nearby sightseeing trips, going out on weekends etc.)?
    A: Our volunteers find US$ 100/ week enough for their basic expenses, budget another US$ 100 for each weekend and US$ 200 for sightseeing and you will have a very comfortable and enjoyable stay.


My trip to Rio De Janeiro - 2016
By: Quenisha Bell Read More
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