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Iko Poran Volunteer Abroad - IKPVA Header Image Iko Poran Volunteer Abroad - IKPVA Header Image

Most Affordable Child Development Program in Brazil

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

Do something amazing!

After a month in Rio, the city will always be with me. It makes me smile to think I did it, I have always wanted to volunteer abroad and this experience definitely did not disappoint. Though you travel alone, as soon as you arrive you are part of a new family. The volunteering programme is wonderful and eye-opening, and you have free time to explore as much of the city as you possibly can. It really is an amazing place with amazing people, I will return again one day.
Tchau Brasil

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

I'd return to Brasil every year if I could

Felipe is great at making everyone feel right at home, and the volunteers alike. I was immediately surrounded by like-minded
individuals who took me in as one of their own, and payed it forward by welcoming the new volunteers that arrived the weeks following. The greatest things about Iko Poran is the affordability, the location of
the hostel, the volunteers, and the hostel workers. Rio truly felt like home within a matter of hours and this experience was the best thing that ever happened to me.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    8

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

The best way to use university summer holiday

Volunteering in Rio helped me to see a different world and gain different perspectives. I realize I did something beneficial for the local community and myself in summer. It is the best way to spend summer holiday. Also that is the happiest time I experienced in a foreign country. See and experience for yourself. Please go to Brazil and you will not regret the decision.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

I didn't want to leave!

I spent 5 months in Brazil working on a child development project and in a creche with younger children. I had worked for many years with children in the UK and wanted to experience working with children in a different culture and had a passion to visit Brazil, so when in a position to do so, I decided to combine the two.

When I initially arrived, I found it daunting as I did not speak Portuguese and I needed time to adapt to the culture. This soon diminished when Felipe, who runs the project, explained how the programmes worked and 2 weeks of language lessons were provided, which helped with communicating with the staff and children where very little English is spoken. I was also living with other volunteers from all over the world, which opened my eyes further to different cultures and I explored the wonderful city of Rio de Janeiro with many of them. The staff at Rio Hostel, the accommodation that was provided became like family-wonderful people who were so helpful!

Both the programmes I worked on with children were extremely rewarding. The staff on the projects were amazing and we found other ways to communicate when we got stuck! The children were warm, kind and keen to get involved in activities-this was extremely humbling for me, as they have very little in terms of basic necessities and possessions. I liked the fact that I was able to experience projects in different areas, though you need to be aware that many of the children live in poverty and hardship, which can be quite emotional at times and it is my belief that you get out of it what you put in!

As I gained more confidence, I immersed myself in the culture and met other Brazilians who showed me other perspectives of the city and surrounding areas, which was fantastic.

I would highly recommend this programme to anyone! I had the most amazing time and felt extremely sad to leave, however I know that I have made many friends and have so many positive memories that I will treasure for life! I am now planning my next trip back!

  • Iko Poran Volunteer Abroad - IKPVA responded to this review July 15, 2016 at 9:41 AM


    Hi Lucy,

    I have no words to express how grateful we are for your 5 months in Rio. You were a wonderful volunteer who got the most out of the experience because you out a lot into it. As you said, you get what you put in. You devotion to the projects rewarded you in the same level, or more. You also understood that we give a safe Launchpad for our volunteers to explore Rio de Janeiro and Brazil, but it is up to them to get out there and make it happen. It was great to know you had the most amazing time here and recommend our program to anyone. Thank you very much!!
    You can be sure you made life longs friends here and we look forward to seeing you again soon either in Brazil or in other destinations. Returning volunteers have 50% off the registration fee

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Social Life

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

My Journey

I volunteered for two weeks in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on a child development programme. I loved my time in Rio. This was my first time volunteering and actually my first time travelling alone so it was very daunting to begin with. Luis Felipe Murray who runs the Iko Poran charity in Rio made me feel so welcome and supported me thought my time there. I worked with a group of children between roughly 4 and 16 years of age, I've never met a more intelligent, considerate and warm-hearted bunch of children in my life! They made this trip for me and I will never forget them. I was told a tousand horror stories about Rio before I left about how dangerous it was and I found the complete opposite on arrival, everyone is so friendly. It is dangerous but as long as you are careful and watch what you are doing you will be fine. The poverty in the country is hard to observe, especially if you come from a country like mine where we take everything for granted. It's heart-breaking to see but just hold onto the fact that if you choose to visit these countries you are there to make a difference no matter how big or small that is. What an incredible journey I've been on already and I can't explain in words how humbling it is and how grateful I am to Iko Poran and all the other volunteers from all around the world who contributed to how fantastic my time there was.
I will most definitely be volunteering again and I'll for sure be back in Rio.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

Rewarding

The project in which i participated was a very nice project, all though they didn't have many resources they work with what they had and a lot of love. I felt that they really need it the help of volunteers and in this case mine which was very rewarding.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    7

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    10

Amazing experience in Rio

I was volunteering in Rio de Janeiro for 2 weeks in a Child Development program. We were playing with between 10 and 20 kids everyday, this could be football, rope skipping, drawing,... They loved it when we prepared something special like painting or some different ball games. The kids were adorable and although two weeks is not such a long time, I learned a lot! I would recommend staying longer though, I could see that the kids got attached to us fairly quickly and I felt bad leaving them.
Felipe is really nice, I liked it that he picked me up from the airport and showed me around Rio a little bit. I didn't arrive on sunday like I was supposed to, but he didn't make a problem of it at all. That's something different from other volunteering programs I looked into.

Besides the volunteering itself, I met really nice people, also volunteers. I liked it that we stayed in the same hostel so we could go out together or to the beach during the weekends. It was probably one of the best experiences I had so far. I would definitely recommend!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Working abroad with young people

The experince is fantastic. Brazil is a beautiful country full of diversity and a vibrant energy. The work that I did with young people whilst it can be challenging is massively rewarding. If you enjoy jumping in and getting stuck in and you enjoy being given freedom and independence on how you want to proceed in the programme this is the programme for you. It's fun it's vibrant and it keeps your mind active I reccomend it to all. Enjoy yourself.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    10

Best Way to Brazil

If you're looking for the best way to travel to Rio, start with Iko Poran.

I couldn't believe that a program so affordable could go above and beyond my expectations. As a recent college graduate taking a gap-year before graduate school, this was my first trip traveling alone. From the moment I met Felipe and the other program participants, I knew I was in good hands and formed an Iko Poran "family" within just days of arriving.

The program is a good fit for anyone - whether a college student or someone wishing to take a break from their busy career. The program has a good balance between fun and volunteering. I was especially grateful that the program showed me another, equally beautiful, side of Rio that is rarely seen by being a tourist alone. While I may have only been in Rio for a month, I felt that I played an important role at my project simply by devoting time to children who may not always receive the attention necessary for optimal development. I formed such close friendships with the other staff members and always felt welcome into the project.

Another one of my favorite parts of the program were the Portuguese lessons. I felt that just after one month, I was conversational in Portuguese and could read nearly fluently. I had learned Spanish before, but I was amazed at just how fun and useful the classes were. I never thought I could learn a new language in such a short time!

While the program is definitely more crowded some months of the year (such as over December-January and Carnival), it was nice having a close-knit group of 5-10 volunteers. As another note, safety in Rio is always somewhat a concern, but Iko Poran did all they could in providing valuable safety information.

Overall, I couldn't believe how affordable the program was for all it included. I had previously signed up through other organizations, but Iko Poran is flexible about your arrival date and shows you exactly where your money is going. I would go back in a heartbeat, and I recommend that anyone do the same!

  • Iko Poran Volunteer Abroad - IKPVA responded to this review July 15, 2016 at 9:32 AM

    Hi Jessica,

    Thank you very much for your review. It made my day to know that we went beyond your expectations. And thank you again for the compliments about our affordability, accountability and effort to provide the best services to our volunteers.
    It was great to have you in Rio de Janeiro and remember that if you come back to Rio and do the same program there is no registration or program fee, you pay only accommodation. And if you go to another destination you have 50% discount on the registration fee.
    Looking forward to seeing you again soon.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    7

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    7

  • Health and Safety

    7

  • Social Life

    9

A child is like a butterfly...

" A child is like a butterfly in the wind. Some can fly higher than other, but each one flies the best it can. Why compare one against the other?
Each one is different.
Each one is special.
Each one is beautiful."
The one month that I spent volunteering at the Escola Ballet de Santa Teresa with the Iko Poran Association was just wonderful. The children were so vibrant, enthusiastic and very welcoming. I was there to teach English, which wasn't always the objective of the children, they preferred to do artistic activities but I still managed to weave English into that. We had fun everyday and I was made to feel very welcome by the staff and the children. I would definitely recommend this organisation to other people, not only this program but for the other programs because the volunteers that I met participating in other projects, also had good things to say except the odd dangerous situation which was easily resolved. With Iko Poran you can be put to ease.
After I finished my one month at the Escola Ballet de Santa Teresa, I really did miss going there everyday and seeing the kids. The difficult backgrounds that some of them come from, really do make an impression on you. They will all remain close to my heart.