About Rustic Volunteers Brazil

Volunteer in brazil

A Life-changing, Rewarding and Affordable Brazilian Experience!

Volunteer in Brazil and make a difference in the world by helping those in need, and engaging in mesmerizing culture. Our volunteer program is located in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil's second largest and definitely the most beautiful and vibrant city. Rio offers everything for the visitors – beaches, parks, bustling city life, Brazilian samba culture, good food, nightlife and also poverty. Rio is also a modern city and is preparing to host Soccer World Cup 2014 and the Summer Olympics in 2016. To prepare of this, the city has tackled crime, build modern infrastructures and communications facilities and is looking forward to welcoming millions of visitors.

We need more volunteers now! Rustic Volunteer's volunteering in Brazil programs offers unique opportunities to explore the great city of Rio and beyond while working with children and poor communities. We partner with local orphanages, schools, nonprofit organizations and childcare centers to provide volunteers with a rewarding and meaningful experience. Write us an email now now and begin an exotic and unforgettable experience in Brazil! We will send you more information to soon participate in a program you will not regret.

The volunteer programs will be closed during the following periods:

  • December 22 – January 4, 2015 (Holidays)
  • February 12 – February 23, 2015 (Carnival)
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Fees and Dates

Start Dates:

All volunteer programs start on the first and third Monday of each month.

If you are tired of expensive volunteer programs but want to make a positive contribution in the world, look no further! Rustic is dedicated to offering high quality, well-organized and meaningful programs at the most affordable price in the United States. We work hard to keep costs as low as possible, focusing on the effectiveness of our projects, the safety of our volunteers and the quality of participant experiences. We currently offer the most competitive price possible in today's market including an application fee (of $299) AND a small weekly fee as follows:

Duration Fee
  1 Week   N/A
  2 Weeks   $645
  3 Weeks   $880
  4 Weeks   $1,115
  5 Weeks   $1,350
  6 Weeks   $1,585
  7 Weeks   $1,820
  8 Weeks   $2,055
  9 Weeks   $2,290
  10 Weeks   $2,525
  11 Weeks   $2,760
  12 Weeks   $2,995

Mandatory Comprehensive Travel Insurance $3.49/day

  • Program fee covers
    • Accommodation
    • Breakfast
    • Donation to project
    • In-country office expenses
    • Field support
    • Project coordination
  • Program fee does not cover
    • International flights
    • Passport and visa fees
    • Immunizations
    • Personal food and beverages
    • Travel costs
    • Entertainment
    • Local transportation
    • Laundry
    • Communication (telephone, internet)
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Volunteer Programs in Brazil

Childcare Project in Brazil

In Brazil, the average of conception is very young, and many new parents are unprepared to care for their infants and toddlers. Unfortunately, these young parents do not have the means to pay for proper daycare or childcare facilities, and this situation ensures that poor children will be behind their more-fortunate peers. Our volunteers work with local childcare centers so that their parents have the chance to pursue educational and career opportunities. Working at the Childcare Project is a great way to give back to the poor Brazilian communities and give struggling young parents the chance to take care of their families. You will find the children to be very loving and happy to be in a safe place while their parents work for their futures.

Project/Volunteer's Life

Childcare in Brazil volunteers will work in the area of Complexo do Alemão, a group of favelas (shanty towns) in northern Rio de Janeiro. The people living there are poor and would benefit greatly from having their children taken care of loving volunteers. There are very few affordable daycare centers there, and local staff has been overwhelmed by needs vs. resources.

You can provide support to local daycares (creches) in a fun and creative way. You will play with the children, giving them love and attention, help with meals and naps, tutor the children and provide assistance to local staff. This is a great project for volunteers who enjoy working with young children and managing fun activities.

Skills and Qualification

We take in non-native English speakers, but you must have fluent English skills. As a volunteer, you must also show patience, be resourceful and always respect the local culture and customs. These are traits of a very good volunteer.

Teaching Project in Brazil

As Brazil’s economy grows and the country becomes a global player, Brazilians are increasingly learning and using English to communicate with the outside world. The people who speak English in Brazil are more likely to advance both in the academic field and in the professional arena. But sadly in Brazil, English speaking courses or schools are expensive and unaffordable for the poor. Moreover, the schools where the children from poor families attend are often resource poor and are often unable to hire experienced and qualified English teachers. This situation ensures the poor will always remain behind. Our volunteers are now working with local people to help them learn English and also inspire them to work for a better future. Teaching English in Brazil is also a very popular way to experience local culture, make local friends and help give them skills you have. You will find the students very enthusiastic and extremely eager to learn.

School will remain closed in Brazil from Jan – March because of holiday. The project is not available then.

Project/Volunteer's Life

Teaching English in Brazil volunteers will work in the area of Rocinha. Although known locally as a favela (scanty town), Rocinha has recently developed into a very good area that has all the facilities that a modern place should have. Despite this, the people living there are still poor and would benefit greatly learning English from a volunteer.

You can teach English in a fun and creative way. You will teach them to read, write and speak conservation English. The classes can take place in a classroom setting or on one-on-one basis. Your students can also include children or adults. You can also work on curriculum development and help the local English teacher.

Skills and Qualification

We take in non-native English speakers, but you must have fluent English and good writing skills. As a volunteer, you must also show patient, be resourceful and always respect the local culture and customs. These are traits of a very good volunteer.

Teaching Computer Project in Brazil

As the Brazilian tourist market continues to grow, the number of jobs increases along with the need for computer literacy. Unfortunately, Brazilians from low-income areas, the favelas, often do not have the opportunity to become computer literate. These students are like any other children in the world, as they are fascinated by technology and computers. Volunteer in the Teaching Computer project and help young students increase their future prospects. Most Brazilian students do not know the basics of computer use. Rustic Volunteer’s volunteer program gives you the opportunity to share your computer knowledge with students and teachers alike!

Project/Volunteer's Life

Teaching Computer in Brazil volunteers will work in the area of Complexo do Alemão, a group of favelas (shanty towns) in northern Rio de Janeiro. The people living there are poor and would benefit greatly from learning basic computer skills. You can provide support to the local community by teaching basic computer skills, such as Internet searches and basic programs like Excel and Word. You’ll be working in schools, community centers, churches, etc. depending on your skill sets and current available projects. Volunteers with advanced computer skills may help develop databases, help with computer maintenance and/or work as a teacher or teacher’s aide.

Skills and Qualification

We take in non-Portuguese speakers, but you must have fluent English skills. As a volunteer, you must also exhibit patience, resourcefulness and respect for the local culture and customs. These are traits of a very good volunteer.

Youth Athletics Project in Brazil

Sports and athletics are an integral part of Brazilian culture – you won’t find more passionate soccer fans in any other place in the world. Sports give kids hope, routine and discipline, things that are severely lacking in the poor Brazilian favelas (shanty towns). Our volunteers work with local youth to develop their athletic skills, as well as encourage them to lead healthy (and happy) lives. Working in the Youth Athletics Project is a great way to give back to the community and empower young, impressionable kids who need it the most. In this program, volunteers will help coach and organize activities in the sports of soccer (futbol), skateboarding, volleyball, circus training, martial arts and more.

Project/Volunteer's Life

Youth Athletics Project in Brazil volunteers will work in the area of Complexo do Alemão, a group of favelas (shanty towns) in northern Rio de Janeiro. The people that live there are very poor, and the local children would benefit greatly from organized athletic programs. There are little to no organized sports activities there, and local volunteers have been overwhelmed by needs vs. resources.

You can provide support to local children in a fun and healthy way. You will work with local schools and community organizations by participating in a wide variety of athletic activities, from coaching and training to refereeing a game. This is a wonderful project for volunteers who are athletes or who enjoy playing sports and working with children.

Skills and Qualification

Basic Portuguese is recommended, but not required. As a volunteer, you must also show patience, be resourceful and have a positive attitude.

Handicraft Project in Brazil

Life in the Brazilian favelas (shanty towns) is rough, and women who have children are often stuck in a dead-end cycle that involves depending on others for food and basic needs. Unfortunately, these women have little to no options, as they did not receive a proper education and most lack any type of income-earning skills. Our volunteers work with them to teach them handicrafts that give them the opportunity to finally become financially independent and improve their self-esteems. If you know how to sew or do other crafts, the Handicraft Project is a great way to give back to local women by teaching them how to earn an honest income and raise the living standard for themselves and their children. You will find the women to be very appreciative and eager to learn.

Project/Volunteer's Life

Handicraft in Brazil volunteers will work in the area of Complexo do Alemão, a group of favelas (shanty towns) in northern Rio de Janeiro. The women there are very poor and would benefit greatly from learning a handicraft that will enable them to earn an income. These classes also provide a social network and positive creative outlet for women who have little to be happy for.

You can provide support to local women and the community in a fun and creative way. You will teach a handicraft to small classes. Handicraft activities may include sewing, sandal design, painting, candles, pottery, perfumes and more. This is a great project for volunteers who speak Portuguese, are experienced crafters and enjoy working with women. Volunteers need to bring supplies and create lesson plans for the classes.

Skills and Qualification

You must have basic Portuguese skills and a background in the handicraft you wish to teach. As a volunteer, you must also show patience, be resourceful and always respect the local culture and customs. These are traits of a very good volunteer.

Meals/Accommodations

Rustic Volunteer arranges volunteer meals, accommodations and strong field supervision for the duration the project in Brazil. In Brazil, volunteers are placed in one of two hostels – CabanaCopa, located in walking distance of the world-famous Copacabana Beach, or Rio Hostel, situated in the heart of the Santa Teresa historic district. You will share your room with other volunteers or travelers. Breakfast will be provided every day in the hostel, and you will eat rest of your meals outside. There are plenty of good places to eat in and around your accommodation. A very popular food in Brazil is the feijoada, which is a Brazilian dish of rice and beans. The portions served are very big and it will cost you US $5 - $10. There are also many Kilograma restaurants throughout Rio, where you can sample various types of food and pay according to the weight of the food. There are also plenty of internet cafés, banks, parks, beaches, and supermarkets near our accommodations.

Rustic offers unparalleled field support to volunteers to ensure a safe and rewarding experience. There are many layers of support for you. The most important support comes from our country coordinator/field staff. The secondary support comes from the host project staff (Knowing some Portuguese will help you interact) Volunteers will have access to our country coordinator's mobile number and they are available 24/7. Throughout the volunteer project, our local staff stays in contact with volunteers either with face-to-face visits or via email/telephone. Our field staff will visit regularly to make sure things are going well and as planned. However, if placement is far from our local offices, staff members will stay in touch via email/ phone. It's important for volunteers to be flexible with their projects, but also know the country coordinator will be there to guide them along.

Specific details regarding accommodations, food and contact details for our local coordinator will be provided in personalized volunteer placement documentation prior to arrival.

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Project Locations:

The residents of Rio like to call their city 'the marvelous city', and looking at the blue sea, forest covered mountains, stunning beaches, rocky cliffs and the city that stretches for 20 km along the alluvial strip, there is no doubt Rio is worthy of the name. Rio is also a place of great culture. The annual Rio Carnival draws thousands of visitors from around the world. During the festival, people celebrate with dancing and singing in the street and there will huge parade from samba schools. Nightlife in central Rio is also legendary because of its samba beat and the fervor with which the local people participate in it. Visitors to Rio will also find many things to see including museums, galleries, large variety of restaurants and very friendly people. Rio is also famous for the favelas (shanty towns) that sometimes blight the city's landscape. They are also a sour reminder of the large gap that exists between the rich and the poor.

Rio is hosting the soccer World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Games in 2016. Both are huge sporting events. The city is preparing for the games by building better roads, improving the communications facilities, getting rid of crimes and criminal activities and building more and better hotels. This is perhaps the best time to volunteer in Brazil.

Major FAQs - Brazil

  • Application Process
  • Please read Rustic Volunteer's 5-step application

    • There are two options for applying to volunteer in Brazil through our program. You can apply online or you can download an application, fill it out and mail it in to us. You will need to submit your application with a $200 application fee. This fee is required to make an application valid.
    • Once we get your application, we will immediately send it to Brazil for processing. They go over your application carefully and find the best project possible for you. The decisions for room and food are made at this time. Arrangement for room and food depends on the location of the project. The vast majority of our volunteers stay in full immersion home stays, though some orphanage projects are residential.
    • Once we get the details of your placements, we pass it on to you with a final invoice. Your final payment is due six weeks before your start date and in expedited cases, as soon as possible. The placement details have local contact information to use for contacts on your visa application or to get in touch with the local staff and host family.
    • Preparation for trips should include reading about Brazil, immunization, travel visa (entry permit) and booking airfare. If you face any problems, our Program Manager is always available for assistance.
    • Once you purchase your ticket, send your flight information to our US office by fax or by email. Your flight information will be forwarded to the Brazil staff who will arrange an airport pickup.
  • Arrival Information
  • Arrival Point:

    Rio de Janeiro Galeao Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport (GIG)

    Airport Pick-up

    Upon the receipt of your flight information, our in-country coordinator or other project staff will greet you in the airport and take you to your project site. The address and telephone number of the local contact will be given before departure just in case volunteers miss our representative in the airport. Please make sure to e-mail your flight information to both the USA office and the local in-country coordinator's office.

    Departure Point:

    Rio de Janeiro Galeao Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport (GIG)

    Airport Drop:

    Rarely, a few do request an escort back to the airport; this is an extra expense of about $50. Most volunteers are very familiar and comfortable with their stay and have great ease taking their own taxi or bus back to the airport.

    Internal Transportation:

    Rustic Volunteer manages one-way transportation to project. Volunteers will be responsible for their own personal and return travel. We do not cover daily transportation from the hostel or home-stay to the volunteer project. Our program is designed to save you, the volunteer, as much as possible.

    Start Dates:

    1st and 3rd Mondays of each month

    Arrival Before Start Date:

    Rustic Volunteers/Travelers coming to Brazil are advised to arrive one day before their program start date. If you arrive more than one day early or stay after the program, you will be responsible for your room and food expenses.

    Working Hours:

    10-30 hours per week

  • Visa
  • Rustic strongly suggest that all volunteers apply for a tourist visa in a timely manner before departing for Brazil. Please call our office or contact the local Brazilian embassy to learn more about visa, visa fees and visa extensions. Getting your tourist visa is your responsibility.

  • Health & Safety
  • Being informed is your first defense against disease and safety risks. We recommend visiting some of the following websites for health and safety information:

    WHO website for international travelers ( http://www.who.int/csr/ihr/en/ )

    General Health Tips to volunteer in Brazil

    • Water is very safe in most of Brazil. When traveling to the beaches or very rural areas, drink only bottled or boiled water, or carbonated (bubbly) drinks in cans or bottles. Tap water, fountain drinks and ice cubes should not be considered safe at the beaches. If this is not possible, make water safer by both filtering through an "absolute 1 micron or less" filter AND adding iodine tablets to the filtered water. "Absolute 1 micron filters" are found in camping/outdoor supply stores.
    • Buy bottled water from respectable outlets to guard against upset stomachs. Make sure that the seal of the bottle is intact as it is not uncommon for local street merchants to sell tap water in resealed bottles.
    • The most common health complaint in any developing nation is upset stomach/diarrhea/vomiting. In many cases the illness may be attributed merely to a change in diet, but occasional cases of food poisoning can occur, whereby the symptoms occur very quickly, severely and explosively. These are seldom serious or extended illnesses, but medical treatment should be sought if it occurs.
    • Avoid eating food from road side stalls. Don't eat unpeeled fruits or fruits that have already been cut by unknown handlers on the street. If you are forced to eat food at some place that you have doubts about, make sure the food is served hot.
    • If you require any prescription drugs bring enough for the duration of the trip. They will need to be carried in their original prescription bottle and the prescription must be in your name.
    • It is advisable that you carry a small health kit, which should include a remedy for upset stomachs, some antiseptic cream, hydration powder, mosquito repellant, sun block, band aids, etc.
  • Vaccination
  • We recommend all volunteer/participants visit the Center for Disease Control's website (http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/ ) for traveler's health recommendations. Your travel doctor will be knowledgeable about current epidemics and should be consulted.

    Recommended Vaccinations and Preventive Medications

    The following vaccines may be recommended for your travel to Brazil. Discuss your travel plans and personal health with a health-care provider to determine which vaccines you will need.

    • Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG). Transmission of hepatitis A virus can occur through direct person-to-person contact; through exposure to contaminated water, ice, or shellfish harvested in contaminated water; or from fruits, vegetables, or other foods that are eaten uncooked and that were contaminated during harvesting or subsequent handling.
    • Hepatitis B , especially if you might be exposed to blood or body fluids (for example, health-care workers), have sexual contact with the local population, or be exposed through medical treatment. Hepatitis B vaccine is now recommended for all infants and for children ages 11-12 years who did not receive the series as infants.
    • Malaria: if you are traveling to a malaria-risk area in this region, see your health care provider for a prescription anti-malarial drug. For details concerning risk and preventive medications.
    • Rabies if you experience extensive unprotected outdoor exposure in rural areas, such as might occur during camping, hiking, or bicycling, or engaging in certain occupational activities.
    • Typhoid  vaccine. Typhoid fever can be contracted through contaminated drinking water or food, or by eating food or drinking beverages that have been handled by a person who is infected. Large outbreaks are most often related to fecal contamination of water supplies or foods sold by street vendors
    • Yellow fever: for travelers to endemic areas in Brazil
    • As needed, booster doses for tetanus-diphtheria  and measles.
    • Precaution again Malaria
    • Required Vaccinations
    • None
  • Money Matter
  • What is the exchange rate? Where should I change my dollars? Can I use a debit card or credit card? Should I bring travelers checks?

    Dollars can be changed at the exchange houses in the airport. ATM machines are widely available.

    Do not come without any cash as ATM machines can be down or not accept your card. It is wise to check with your bank ahead of time to confirm that your card will work overseas. Debit cards and credit cards are becoming more acceptable at major stores; however, they are still not accepted as widely as in the States. Do not use your cards at any smaller or non-reputable locations. Travelers' checks will have to be exchanged in the banks as most locations will not accept them directly. Debit card is the best way of getting money. Visa, MasterCard and American Express are accepted in some of the large stores and hotels in larger cities, but may not be widely accepted in smaller cities and not at all in the villages.

    How much money you bring depends on your personal spending habits. Thrifty people can get by on less than $30-40/day. Your budget should also include money to explore Brazil in free time as well as for your personal use.

  • Field Support and Supervision
  • How does Rustic Volunteer help me when I am in the field? How can I maintain communication? Does Rustic Volunteer visit volunteers?

    Once the volunteer program starts, our local staff members stay in touch with volunteers. We visit our volunteers every 2 weeks (if possible) and you are always welcome at the office. We recommend that the volunteers stop by the office once a week if they are in the local area just to let us know how they are doing with their home stay and project. Many minor issues can be overcome through a little communication long before they become major issues - ensuring that your trip is exactly what you had hoped for. Your project will have local staff members as well, though not our own. If your project is very far, then our local staff maintains communication by either email and/or phone. We are available to you at the office, by email, and by phone for your entire trip. It is our job to make sure that you are safe and healthy.

  • Communication
  • How do I communicate with my family? Rustic Volunteer staff? Is there internet?

    There are many internet cafes in town which run around $1/hour. There are also international phone cards available to make international calls. Also, please use local phone cards for local calls, as every minute of local or international use is billed to the families. If you need to contact the Rustic Volunteer staff locally, the families will generally allow you to use the phone for short periods.

  • Climate
  • Tropical and subtropical; dry season (December to April); rainy season (May to November); cooler in highlands.

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