Many people nowadays are interested to do volunteer work in Rio de Janeiro. What’s the best way to go about things? How do you find a serious NGO (Non Governmental Organization)? To start with I will make some comments on how you best can make yourself useful.

Volunteer Work in Rio as a Short Term Non Professional

Volunteer work in Rio just as in all other places is a somewhat complicated matter. Many organizations actually don’t accept short term volunteer workers (less than say a couple of years), but gladly accepts donations. The fact is that the help workers are perceived as being more of a burden than an aid. With no command of the language and in need of a place to stay they create more work than they get done. Some organizations do allow volunteer work in Rio in exchange for money, ie. you pay to work. There exists quite a few NGO’s that accept your help for a few months, the goal is probabaly more to show you their work and thereby make you donate; your labour is not what they primarily need.

Volunteer Work in Rio as a Professional

The big exception is if you can offer something that is in need, a computer engineer can be helpful in setting up an IT-center, a nurse can of course work in a hospital or health care centre. Most of the time this type of work is arranged already back home. These projects are most of the time well organized bigger operations (not saying in any way it’s a guarantee for quality).

Picking an NGO?

The history of help organizations has a dark side. A lot of the money raised hasn’t reached the needy, vast amounts of money and resources have been spent on fruitless projects due to bad research and little local knowledge. Either if you want to volunteer work in Rio or just make a donation you better make sure where your money will go, the amount of aid resources arriving in the wrong pockets is really high. I recommend you to research well before you get here. Reading forums, getting recommendations, visiting homepages; Accumulating knowledge is the first step, then you sign up. When you get to Rio you will be prepared and straight away start your hopefully meaningful work. Or maybe you decided to make a donation and when visiting Rio to look them up as a guest?

Two Examples From Friends of Mine

In order for you to get an idea on how volunteer work in Rio can be like I will finish off with two examples from people that have been working in three different projects. Just click on the link and it will take you to the descriptions.

1 – Philippe who founded and is working for the Developing Minds Foundation

2 – Camilla who worked the Synval Silva Foundation

  • Manioc Root in Brazil

    manioc rootsIn Brazil there is one tuber that is capable of creating stronger reactions than any other, the root of the manioc. An important source of carbohydrates, processed and used in innumerable ways it has a clear connotation to Indians and… Read more…

  • Names of Neighbourhoods and Places in Rio de Janeiro – Part Three

    Sugarloaf cabinHere continues my article series about names of neighbourhoods and places in Rio. This time I will bring up Flamengo, Tijuca, Muda, Laranjeiras and Urca. Flamengo - Several Theories The theories of where the name of what was once perhaps… Read more…