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

Most Affordable Medical & Health Promotion Program in Brazil

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    10

Valuable experience

Volunteering with Iko Poran is definitely one of the most amazing experience I ever had. The organization gives you the freedom to help in your own ways.
Working with kids was certainly a challenge but the support of other volunteers and people in charge of the projects make everything so much easier.
I also volunteered in a health project where people from the communities work together to inform people about important health issues.
My overall experience was amazing, I enjoy every second of it and I learned so much about the culture. Definitely a experience that will change your life.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    8

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    10

Iko Poran, the best volunteer program in Rio!

When I signed up to participate in Iko Poran program in July 2015, it was my third stay in Brazil. French but passionate about brazilian culture and fluent in Brazilian Portuguese, I wanted to work in community development, a very common notion in Canada, that doesn’t really exist in France (we have various notions instead : local development, social work…).

Luis Felipe Murray, the director of Iko Poran, offered me to volunteer in the Reciclação project for three weeks in August. At this time, I didn’t imagine that I would work with a carioca celebrity and a community activist for over twenty years and founder of the PROA group and, more recently, the Reciclação project, recognized by many cariocas institutions, including UNICEF Brazil.

Context
Founded in 2013, the Reciclação project promotes the sorting of household waste and the environmental education of the Morro dos Prazeres community. This favela located in the hills of Santa Teresa is better known as the setting of the movie Elite Squad (Tropa de Elite). The Morro dos Prazeres is occupied by the police since February 2011, which means that police officers are stationed at the main entrance of the favela 24 hours a day.

Main missions during my three weeks volunteering within the group PROA:
- Organization of activities in support of a childhood immunization campaign organized by the health center. Results: 30 painted children after their vaccine and 10 women with make-up on
- Creation of 30 condom dispensers made of plastic bottles and distribution in the social spaces (bars…) of the community
- Manual sorting household waste within a team of 5 people after Black Santa, a party attended by more than 5,000 people
- Development of posters and messages designed to improve self-esteem of the women of the community
- Distribution of leaflets about sorting

Cris, the « last mile solution »
Beside health promotion activities, Cris works with a wide network of partners. I had the opportunity to participate to several appointments including:
- A meeting with the local school’s assistant principal who wanted to draw her attention to the difficulties of siblings ;
- A meeting with a member of the merchants association that manages the Saara daily market to identify their labour needs ;
- A workshop on breastfeeding facilitated by one of the members of the group inside the health center
- Several meetings with the Mayor’s Representative for downtown Rio and the city’s historic sites, during which she strongly urged that the bus that daily transport the residents of Morro dos Prazeres respect speed limits and adopt a more cautious driving.

Cris, a Black woman who didn’t have the opportunity to stay long in education, impressed me by her charisma, her quick wit and her determination. If you have a level of at least intermediate Portuguese, I would suggest that you take a look at the group.