International volunteer programs

Dr Aris Apostolopoulos, from Greece.

I wanted to visit places and meet the people not as a tourist but from within the system. I lived with people that I could never get to know. Read more...

Davide Tassi, from Italy

The program was very well organized, the volunteer is never left alone, and that’s very nice especially for younger volunteers facing for the first time a foreign country. Read more...

Sylke Abdinghoff, from Germany

I was so impressed by the enthusiasm, love, friendship and energy which goes in the work of Nos do Cinema that I can surely say it was more than I Read more...

Camilla Johansen, from Norway

This was a great opportunity to do something meaningful and at the same time get to experience Rio and Brazil in a different way. Read more...

Vanessa Carvalho, from Portugal

It was a unique experience. The people were very welcoming, making me feel comfortable. Read more...

Jonathan Curiel, from France

To have the opportunity to work in a favela was an unbelievable experience from a cultural, sociological and human perspective. Read more...

Barbara Schick, from Austria

My experiences went beyond all my expectations. It was just such a wonderful experience in a wonderful city with great people around. Read more...

Najin Kim, from Korea

The world today is connected in so many ways and it is everyone's responsibility to get together and take responsibility to solve the problems all people face. Read more...

Rosemary Ennis, from Northern Ireland

I feel I am returning to Ireland a more open minded and capable individual. Read more...

Jin Voeks, from the US

It was interesting to see someone begin to learn something. Read more...
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  1. Our programs.
  2. Why Iko Poran?
  3. Individual placements
  4. Spring breaks
  5. Program fee
  6. Why pay to volunteer?
  7. What´s included?
  8. Program dates
  9. Practical information
  10. How to apply


Our programs

Iko Poran works with around forty different local community organizations in Rio de Janeiro.
Our operations are run in partnership with these Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs). We work with them to develop volunteer programs to cater to the specific challenges these organizations face, while benefiting the communities they serve. At the same time, the programs provide positive experiences for the foreign volunteers as they see at first hand the social and/or environmental impact of their work.

Volunteers participate in projects developed and operated by the local partner organization and their community councils. Volunteers get a unique experience of actively participating in developing communities, thereby helping build a fairer world and creating a rich personal opportunity for cultural exchange.

The programs provide training for volunteers and communities, generating income and employment. We do this in a transparent and ethical manner, sharing significant revenues with our partner organizations.



Why Iko Poran?

Volunteering with Iko Poran is for people who want to make a difference. We are a non-profit organization. Our mission is to help improve the lives of Brazil´s poorest. We believe passionately that bringing international volunteers to work in our communities can make a real difference. The volunteers get to pass on their valuable skills and experience, and to develop new ones. And the residents of the communities, young and old, get to learn more about the rest of the world. This exchange of cultures and experiences is rewarding and enriching on both sides. Unlike other volunteer organizations, we don´t make a profit out of our volunteers. 50% of our placement fee goes directly to the community project where the volunteer works. The rest covers our administration costs, helping us attract and place more volunteers. The team at Iko Poran is flexible, creative and innovative. We will work with you to put together the placement that makes best use of your abilities and gives you the experience you´re looking for. We are a community-based organization. We are from Rio. We love this city and we understand its needs. Iko Poran is 100% committed to the long-term development of our communities. Our project partners really value working with our volunteers. They do everything they can to make it an unforgettable and rewarding experience.All our volunteers are offered the chance to take Portuguese classes (included in the program fee)



Individual placements

Most of our volunteer placements are Individual placements, specially developed according to the volunteer's abilities and interests. They are ideal for those who are keen to become partners in a development project. The programs can last up to 24 weeks. The longer the placement, the more beneficial the volunteer will be to the partner organizations, and the more they will learn more from the experience.

To avoid any possible misunderstandings, it is important to stress that Iko Poran´s role is a facilitator in the placement process. The success of the placement is down to the volunteer and the partner project. Success depends on a positive and flexible attitude and on the interest of the volunteers to contribute and take part in the development of the partner organization. And, even if they end up not doing exactly what they originally planned, volunteers are encouraged to be flexible and develop with their partner organizations other activities that they can do to help.


Spring breaks

NEW: We also put together tailored group programs mixing community service together with tourist & cultural activities. This can be an ideal travel experience for Universities Spring or Fall breaks. Check it out here!



Program Fee

Up to four weeks: R$ 2.500,00*

(*does not apply for Build Homes program, please refer to the Build Homes section for prices

Each additional week: R$240,00 (per day R$40,00 - for accommodation expenses only – to be paid in advance)

Prices quoted in Brazilian Reais and accurate as of June 2012. For current exchange rates, click here


We can also organize tailor-made programs for those who already have accommodation in Rio de Janeiro and/or already speak Portuguese. To find out more, contact us



Why pay to volunteer?


It may seem strange to pay a fee in order to provide your services for free! But there are good reasons for it. The placement fee covers the costs we incur in putting together meaningful placements, which volunteers will enjoy and local communities will benefit from. We need to do this preparation to make sure your placement runs as smoothly as possible. The fee also covers the cost of providing 24/7 back-up and support for you throughout your placement. And, importantly, 50% of your NET placement fee goes to support the project in which you will be working (ie up to R$400). In some countries, the donation element of the volunteer fee may be tax-deductible.


What´s included

  • Development of the volunteer placement together with the partner organization;
  • Initial support to travel by public transport to and from the project on arrival;
  • Program management and administrative fee;
  • Donation to the partner organization (up to 50% of the NET placement fee ie up to R$400);
  • Orientation and information about getting around Rio de Janeiro, guides, listings, tips, maps, health issues and safety;
  • Airport pickup by an Iko Poran representative;
  • Lodging during the first four weeks in one of our comfortable accommodation places (up to 24 weeks);
  • 24/7 assistance in the case of emergencies.
  • NEW: Intensive Portuguese course during the first two weeks of the program (20 hours - 2 per day - all books and materials included).
  • Breakfast consisting of bread, butter, jam, ham, cheese, milk and fresh tropical fruit.


What´s not included (for example):

  • Travel to Brazil;
  • Visa costs (when necessary);
  • Insurance (Volunteers should buy their own health and travel insurance);
  • In-country transport (except airport pickup);
  • Meals (except for breakfast).




Program dates

Programs take place all year round, but we have set arrival days that are set to help us organize airport pick-ups, accommodations and placements. Volunteers should arrive on the first and third Saturdays of each month (please see below). If you want to arrive on a different day, please contact us to check availability and any extra costs. Please note that the Portuguese course starts on the first Monday after the arrival days.


Please note that all projects are closed during the Carnival week (February 28th to March 4th). Any volunteer that arrived prior to Carnival and is staying in the guest house throughout this period will be required to pay a premium of $R750 regardless of their arrival date.

We will be open for the World Cup, but please note that all volunteers will have to pay a 50% surcharge for accommodation during the months of June and July 2014 and must stay a minimum of 4 weeks.



Arrival dates in 2014

March 23
April 6
April 20
May 4
May 18
June 7
July 19
August 3
August 17

September 7
September 21
October 5
October 19
November 2
November 16
December 7
December 14

We will be open for the World Cup, starting June 12 and ending July 13, 2014. Please be aware that the last day we will receive volunteers before the World Cup will be June 7, 2014. You will have to stay a minimum of 5 weeks and there will be a 50% surcharge for accommodation during this period.

The first date after the World Cup that we will receive volunteers is July 19, 2014.


Arrival dates in 2015

Jan 4 - 18

Feb 1 - 15

Mar 1 - 15

Apr 5 - 19

May 3 - 17

June 7 - 21

July 5 - 19

Aug 2 - 16

Sep 6 - 20

Oct 4 - 18

Nov 1 - 15

Dec 6




Practical information

Volunteer Requeriments

Volunteers must be 18 years or older at the beginning of the program and have at least a high school education. All volunteers must provide a criminal background check to local Iko Poran staff on arrival in Brazil.


Language Requirements

The official language in Brazil is Portuguese. We have learned that if volunteers can manage a little Portuguese, it will definitely take them a longer way and they will feel much more rewarded. At the same time they produce more results for their partner organizations. Therefore, we have included in the program fee an intensive 20 hours Portuguese course that takes place in parallel with the volunteering on the first two weeks of the program.


Program Length

From 3 to 24 weeks


Work Schedule

It varies. Volunteers may work part time or full time from 10 to 20 hours per week or more. The schedule is defined together with the partner organization and the volunteer on arrival.



It is not necessary to send any payment in advance, payment should be made on arrival.

Volunteers begin their placement only once they have paid the program fee in full and in cash upon arrival. This way, the volunteers do not need to think about money any more and can concentrate on their programs and on the results achieved.



Our volunteers are lodged in an attractive Guest House in Santa Teresa, one of Rio de Janeiro's most enchanting neighborhoods.

The house has TV, free 24/7 Internet access and wifi, fully equipped kitchens, laundry service and cleaning service as well as many other facilities. Iko Poran volunteers stay in shared rooms. Bed sheets and bath towel are provided. The house is located in the best area of Santa Teresa, within walking distance to bars and restaurants, as well as the supermarket, drugstore, bakery, health clinic, and easy public transport links.

Santa Teresa is a bohemian area with an intense cultural life, it is known for its unusual architecture and the hundred and ten years old tram which still runs through its winding cobbled streets. A residential sanctuary in the heartbeat of the Mata Atlantica (Tijuca national park), the world's largest urban subtropical rainforest, it provides ready access to the Christ statue of Corcovado as well as to the city center, sambadromo (where the samba schools compete during Carnival) and the city´s beautiful beaches. With an atmosphere reminiscent of that of a small town, it enchants visitors with its panoramic views of the 'City of Wonders', and offers a variety of options for eating local dishes to international cuisine.



Brazil has traditionally been a relatively inexpensive country for foreigners, but prices have risen recently as the economy develops. But it all depends on your lifestyle. As described above, Iko Poran houses also have fully equipped kitchens where the volunteers may cook. A meal at a restaurant may be as cheap as R$ 7.00 in very nice and healthy popular restaurants or up to R$ 30.00 in nicer places.



Buses cost R$ 2.75 and the subway costs R$ 3.20 Volunteers should budget R$ 50 per week for transportation.

Upon arrival volunteers receive a complete guide with information about public transportation, drugstores, ATM machines, banks, restaurants, markets, shopping malls, beaches and other useful information.


Performance Indicators

In order to ensure a rewarding and gratifying experience for the volunteers and for the partner organizations, specific benchmarks and objectives will be reviewed by all parties at the end of the internship. This will allow for ongoing future improvements as well as provide the volunteer with a measure of their impact on the development project during the internship period.


Please also read the General Conditions


How to apply


Click here