In association with a local organization, Volunteering Solutions aims to turn a former trash-burning site into a flourishing urban community garden. Sounds pretty interesting right? Well, yeah - all you have to do as a volunteer are planting, watering, harvesting & eating! Learn more about tropical urban gardening and help the local favela community in understanding the necessity of this. You'll also have to work in local schools and help them set up small gardens where the students can work.
This project seriously focuses on the goal of providing the residents of two of Rio de Janeiro’s largest favela (shanty town) communities - Manguinhos and Complexo do Alemão, with nutritious food. It aims to teach them the skills to garden and supply fresh, healthy food for their families and community.
Sadly, the residents of Rio's favelas are being targeted by the door-to-door selling of cheap processed food options, an easy option for residents when there are is no vehicle to get to the supermarket and public transport is expensive. Most people in the poorest communities are also under-educated, making them more vulnerable to advertising from the major food and beverage companies. Most of the people end up consuming expensive processed foods that have very low nutritional value and the health issues keep soaring. Being a volunteer for the Urban Gardening Project, you can make an effective contribution towards the well being of the locals living here.
Volunteers must be 18 years or older at the time of joining the project and should be physically fit and prepared to work outdoors. The project is suitable for those who have a keen interest in gardening or environmental work. However, the project is available for all and does not require anyone to have a specific experience or qualifications. All volunteers must provide a clean criminal background check report prior to joining the program.
Volunteer Roles & Responsibilities
As a volunteer, your main roles and responsibilities would be:
- Provide access to nutritious food to the residents of Complexo do Alemão – one of Rio’s largest favelas.
- Improve the health and long-term future of some of Rio’s most impoverished people, helping in local schools and the community.
- Raise awareness of healthy eating and teach planting techniques so that the residents can sustain the gardens and continue to create more fresh fruits and veggies.
- Learn and teach about tropical urban gardening, medicinal plants, nutrition, and conservation.
Volunteer Work Schedule
Volunteers can expect to work 8 hours a day, 4 times a week. A typical day looks like the following. However, please keep in mind each day varies depending on the project and the volunteer
7:30/8 AM - 9 AM: Have breakfast at hostel and travel to the project.
9 AM - 12 PM: Begin project, working in the local community.
12 PM - 1 PM: Have lunch at a local restaurant.
1 PM - 4 PM: Continue working on the project.
4 PM - 5 PM: Clean up, prepare for departure, and return to the hostel.
Volunteering Solutions makes great efforts to provide the best of living standards to its volunteers. In Rio De Janeiro our international volunteers are picked up from the airport and put in a hostel accommodation, equipped with all modern amenities. We also make sure that we help our volunteers with their local requirements, sightseeing or weekend tours.
Volunteers are picked up from the Galeao International Airport by a representative and transferred to the volunteers' hostel accommodation by a shuttle transfer. Those volunteers who are arriving overland or are already in Brazil will have to arrive at the accommodation on own and will not be provided with a pickup.
A half day orientation will be provided by a member of the local coordinating team on the next day after arrival. The orientation would cover topics such as introduction to the program, general information about the program, safety Tips / Guidelines, customs, health guidelines, communities, projects and do’s and dont’s. You will also be given a tour of the local surrounding area which will help you in getting to know the area around.
During your volunteering journey in Brazil, you'll be living at the Cabana Copa Hostel, which is located three blocks from the famous Copacabana beach and allows for convenient access to the metro station, which is the best way to reach the favela. Volunteers will stay in 4-6 person dorm rooms with all amenities. The amenities include bed linens, breakfast, drinkable water, hot water, luggage storage, maps/tourist information, high-speed internet, 24hr security and Check-in, A/C in rooms, big individual lockers, multilingual staff, towels, and other entertainment options such as TV rooms and open-area spaces. ??
Volunteers staying at the hostel accommodation are provided with breakfast every day at the hostel. For lunch and dinner volunteers usually get together and head out to eat at one of the numerous cafe’s and restaurants and enjoy the local delicacies.
During your Free Time
Rio de Janeiro has so much to offer for travelers and there is a lot to do on the weekends and during the free time. During free time on the weekdays volunteers usually hang out and relax at the Copacabana beach area or explore the city. Since the volunteers work four days a week, you will have an extended weekend and plenty of time to go out of Rio and explore the other areas in Brazil such as Petropolis and Paraty to name a few.
Please Note: -An application fee of $199 is charged over and above the program fee as an application payment. (A 4% international banking fee is charged at the time of payment) Please Note: -An application fee of £149 is charged over and above the program fee as an application payment. (A 4% international banking fee is charged at the time of payment) Please Note: -An application fee of $259 is charged over and above the program fee as an application payment. (A 4% international banking fee is charged at the time of payment) Please Note: -An application fee of €169 is charged over and above the program fee as an application payment. (A 4% international banking fee is charged at the time of payment)
Program Costs includes $25 per week Material costs for the project
What are you Paying for?
- Pre-departure support services
- Logistics support upon arrival (local travel support)
- Airport Transfer (Pickup Only)
- Portuguese translation support
- First-day Program Orientation Session, City Tour, and cultural integration sessions
- Introduction to community partners and stakeholders
- Project planning and placement services
- Administrative support during the entire time in Rio (24/7)
- Emergency support during normal business hours
- Material costs for projects in partner NGOs and schools (local donations)
- Certificate Of Completion (Upon Request)
What's NOT included?
- Return Airport Drop
- Visa costs
- Travel insurance
FAQ's Application and Program Details
Once you complete your application, your individual 'My Account' will be active in which you will receive your placement confirmation after which you can pay the program fees. You can pay the program fees later as well in installments, but 45 days before the program starts.
- Volunteers must be 18 years or older at the beginning of the program.
- Volunteers need to have an open mind and flexible attitude for working in a new and different environment.
- The volunteer should bring energy and enthusiasm to make a difference.
- The participant must be in good health.
Accommodation and Living
Health and Safety
If you already have a valid Travel and Medical insurance, you can email us a copy of the same. It is also advised to bring along the Insurance documents during your trip.
Connect with Past Volunteers
We encourage volunteers to get in touch with former Volunteering Solutions participants and also other program participants joining our projects. You are recommended to join the Volunteering Solutions Facebook Page or Facebook Group to communicate with other participants.
To read alumni interviews from past participants, visit the Meet a Volunteer page on our website.
Flights and Visa
Brazil requires many tourists to obtain a visa. Also, your passport should be valid for at least 6 months. Please check with your local embassy if a Visa is required. You can also ask for assistance from our Program Advisor once you’ve applied for the volunteering project in Brazil.