TravelWorks volunteers pitch in, experience Brazil

From: TravelWorks
Published: Tue Mar 01 2011

With the flashy festivities of Carnival drawing Brazil into the world’s spotlight, it can be easy to overlook the challenges facing South America’s largest country. Yet volunteers with European tour operator TravelWorks are going behind Brazil’s shiny veneer to assist local people affected by some of the country’s most pressing social problems.

"Despite being relatively well-off in comparison to many other Latin American countries, Brazil continues to experience the effects of poverty, social inequality, and environmental problems," said Natascha Demant, TravelWorks’ programme coordinator for Brazil. "Our volunteer projects in Brazil allow participants to take an active part in reducing these problems."

Volunteer projects in Brazil, located in Florianópolis, Curitiba, and Rio de Janeiro, include a home for abused children, an assistance programme for disadvantaged families, and environmental conservation projects, among others.

The 6-week programme begins with a 2-week Portuguese language course in Rio de Janeiro, followed by 4 weeks of volunteer work. The language course is at a beginner-level, preparing participants to communicate at their project sites at a basic language level. Living with a Brazilian host family during the language course, participants get to know the local people and their way of life first-hand.

"Brazil is really a wonderful country, and you meet very kind and helpful people everywhere," said recent participant Lydia-Loreen Joos, who worked in the Rio de Janeiro community centre, where she organised sports and crafts for local children.

Environmental projects include Rio’s Tijuca National Park – the largest urban forest on earth, a UNESCO biosphere reserve, and home to the world-famous Christ the Redeemer statue. Volunteers assist with reforestation efforts as well as research projects here.

"No matter where or how they choose to volunteer, TravelWorkers in Brazil gain cultural experience and real-world knowledge," said Demant. "We are always happy to welcome new participants who are keen to experience Brazil on a deeper level than the typical tourist."

For more information about volunteering abroad in Brazil with TravelWorks, visit their website, on:
Company: TravelWorks
Contact Name: lhoesman
Contact Email:

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