Low-Cost Volunteer Opportunities in Brazil

Over at Volunteers South America, there’s a long list of low-cost volunteer projects and quite a few are in Brazil. The majority of them exist in order to help children, in case you were wondering. Here’s a short list of links (but go to the longer list on the site and hover over the links there to see descriptions in English). Keep in mind, I haven’t tried any of these out.

Escola Estrela do Mar (Alagoas)
Go Brazil (Alagoas)
Oiyakaha (Amazonas)
AEC-TEA (inland Bahia)
Kilombo Tenondé (Bahia)
Casa Do Caminho
Calle RJ (Rio)
2 Bros (Rio)
Regua (northeast Rio)
Monte Azul (São Paulo)
Projeto Tamar (Various)
WWOOF (Various)


4 thoughts on “Low-Cost Volunteer Opportunities in Brazil

  1. Casa do caminho is here in my small town. I see foreigners here all the time. At first I found it very odd. Foreigners in a small town in the middle of nowhere. Then I found out they are here because of this orphanage. I once met a girl from Oregon, we chatted in the van I took to work.

  2. Yesterday I received the first i2i/ Instituto Dois Irmãos (Two Brothers Foundation) annual news letter from my friends Rogério Rodrigues and Daniel de Oliveira, the Directors of i2i Brazil http://www.2bros.org/mission2bros.html in Rio de Janeiro in the community of Rocinha.

    I first met US and Brazilian members of i2i at a fund raiser in Atlanta, GA at the Five Spot in Little Five Points. I had never been to Brazil and joined a Brazil Meet up to learn about Brazil’s culture, language, food, music, people, and everything I could before I made my first trip. So I/we would frequent Brazilian stores, super markets, clubs, festas (parties), bakeries, cinemas that showed Brazilian movies, any place where I was welcome to practice my very bad Portuguese and find out about Brazilian culture. While at the Five Spot just kicking back listening to a live band play Samba, watching people dance, (especially women dancing in a way I had never seen!) And me destroying the Portuguese language, and polishing off some cold beers, my new Brazilian friends invited me to i2i. Not knowing a thing about the place, I said sure. About a year later Alex and her friends invited us to a fund raiser at Loca Luna in Atlanta, and I met Zezinho who was born in Rocinha for the first time, selling t-shirts, Balie funk remixes, and DJ-ing at the club.

    In 07′ I booked a round trip ticket to Rio and a round trip to Salvador da Bahia (more about Bahia at a later time) from Rio and rented myself in an apartment in Ipanema. I did the tourist thing and partied like a rock star. Went to every beach and tourist spot I could find. And grooving to some cool Bossa Nova and Samba in Ipanema. I would just walk up to people and start a conversation and everyone I talked to was helpful with directions willing to take the time to talk to me about anything on their beloved Brazil. Nobody tried to mug me, I traveled by myself, and not with some load mouth obnoxious rude drunk Americans who knew nothing of the Brazil’s culture. I thought, now this is what Rio is all about.

    The day I go to i2i in Rocinha, I call Rogério and ask him what omnibus to take to i2i. After all, from day one I had learned from my friends in Ipanema to ditch my tour guide cause of the high fare prices he charges and negotiate with the cab drivers for much lower fares. So to spend even less and to get into a situation where no one may have spoken English, so as to totally immerse myself in Portuguese and I have to think in Portuguese, I took the bus. I new I was in trouble when at the bus stop everyone started to enter the bus from the rear. O-kay. I could barley get my big ass though the turn stile. Then the bus driver proceeded to drive like he was Mario Andretti in the Indianapolis 500 on the way to i2i. Scared the Hell out of me, but we arrived ok. Rogério was there to meet me but I was just awe struck at the size of the place. A place of contrasts. All types of businesses but also young men with semi and automatic weapons walking around or at their posts. Rogério assured me that I was just fine, that I am a gringo who is bringing money to the favela and they know you are also here with me for i2i the school, and the kids. After awhile, I actually felt more safe in the favela than I did walking the streets of Rio!

    At the time the building was a shell in dire need of repairs and paint. The library was bookshelf with moldy books. I took many pictures and am amazed at what the place looks like and has become now. See for yourself, some of the before and after pics and videos while in constant construction on the i2i website. Rogério introduces me to everyone. There is a mixture of college age volunteers from all parts of the world, and Cariocas, doing what ever they could to make something out of literally nothing. Undergrad, grad, teaching not only to kids but adults, very slow construction going on the top level, painting, trying to keep the 2 hand me down computers working, spreading the message of i2i. As you all know on this blog, I can and will go on a rant about someone making something out of nothing and i2i is one of those places where that has happened.

    I2i is a 501c3 non profit registered with the IRS and other governments tax institutions. And i2i is not one of those for 75 Reis per trip to and from your hotel and for 300 to 500 Reis favela tours. And I’m not against whatever one does to make a living. Whatever the market will bear. But of course i2i will give you a tour of Rocinha for far less, and the money goes to i2i and not a kick back to people who have nothing to do with i2i.

    I’ve never met the man, Paul Sneed, professor of Spanish and Portuguese at Kansas University, helped establish the Two Brothers Foundation in 1998 with the help of Rocinha’s own, to create educational opportunities in Rocinha for kids and adults. http://www.news.ku.edu/2010/august/31/favela.shtml

    In 2bros Foundation you will see a side of Brazil other than what you see on the TV or in news print media. i2i to me is a reputable organization that I would recommend to anyone who wants to volunteer while in Brazil. It will change your life for the good, and you will meet people that you will never forget.

    Sorry Adam, for taking so long to write this post on i2i and ranting whenever I wanted to on your blog. Readers of your blog and you may not believe this after reading some of my posts on this blog, but when I am in Brazil, I never talk politics, religion or compare and complain about Brazil. I always remember that I am a guest of this beautiful country and her people, and comport myself accordingly. Brazil is not the US. And Brazil will work out on her own, on her own time, what is best for Brazil. I too have been bitten by the Brazil bug and love Brazil. Whew!

    Wow – You’re not going to believe this but right now (as I’m checking for spelling errors), on GPBO, the global public channel in the ATL, is playing the entire documentary of Mark Johnson’s Playing for Change Foundation (that I found out about for the first time on this site) and selling DVD’s of the of same documentary and are donating the proceeds to the PFCF – Wow, Karma sure can be good.

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