Free (or Cheap) Volunteer Work in Brazil
Grassroots Volunteering in Brazil
The organisations listed below have either got in touch with us to add their details to this or another of our websites, or we otherwise have reason to believe they are actively looking for international volunteers and charge reasonable or no fees to join in, live and work with them:
Eco Caminhos is an ecovillage in the middle of the mountains with the intention to become a self sustaining community producing their own food, energy and building materials. They operate as a social business, offering various programmes, and while their four to 12 week short term volunteering option starts getting reasonably priced towards the end of that date range it’s their long term volunteering option that interests us the most here.
For the one year plus long term volunteer programme experience in bioconstruction, conventional construction, farming or eco toursm is required. It is also possible to jump from the short term volunteer programme into the long term programme. For long term volunteers concerned about how to sustain themselves encouragement and help is given towards building your own complementary mini eco social businesses within the collective community.
Eco Caminhos is part of Grupo Caminhos, a three pillar organization that also provides education services and social work. See Mais Caminhos in the Other Opportunities section below for more information on volunteering with the social project.
Where: Near Nova Friburgo, Rio de Janeiro.
Accommodation & Costs: The long term volunteer programme is free with basic accommodation provided.
Creche Arte Tio Joao
Created in order to counteract the lack of day care centres for newborns in the Rocinha slum at Rio de Janeiro, Creche Arte Tio Joao accepts volunteers to help with the overall supervision of the children, including feeding, bathing and changing nappies.
Hostel Work Exchanges
Many hostels use help exchange networks (see below) to find volunteer staff but the following either advertise on their websites or are particularly noted for taking on volunteers:
Che Lagarto Hostels
Che Lagarto, a group with hostels in several locations around Brazil, as well as in Argentina, Peru and Uruguay, have a Work and Travel programme for those willing to move hostels every three months for one year.
More Hostel Work Exchanges
Bananas Hostel no longer seems to have a website but their (Portuguese language) Facebook page is still active. In the past they said to those in need of a place to stay for free in Itacaré, should you spot a giant banana, walk in and ask about a work for stay arrangement. The job mostly entailed serving drinks and breakfast and keeping Bananas lovely. Knowledge of both English and Portuguese is needed through. They were also able to connect people with two local charities in constant need for skilled volunteers.
Discovery Hostel has a jobs page where applicants can tick night receptionist or cleaning & gardening work for accommodation in Rio de Janeiro options. Last information we had said it took three or four nights a week (for the reception job) to unlock this.
We don’t have up to date information of whether there’s still the chance to live three blocks from Copacabana Beach by helping out at Cobanacopa Hostel. The Greek Brazilian owner does describe himself as an “ambassador of CouchSurfing” so it kinda adds up that they might still welcome volunteers. Back in the day volunteers had to be aged 18 to 28, flexible and experienced in customer service. In Salvador, we’ve heard collaborating in an art or social project between May 15 and December 15 can lead to a free stay with Open House.
Birds live free in the trees surrounding Onça da Praia, in Vitoria, and so might you. Though not in the trees. In a bed with breakfast and lunch thrown in. Not literally thrown in. Oh, you know what I mean. They’ve used their social media to broadcast their needs for help with reception, communication and marketing, building and hands on chores, and cleaning, but lately they use HelpStay.
Other Opportunities to Volunteer in Brazil
Mais Caminhos, the social program of the Caminhos Language School, and also connected to Eco Caminhos (see Listings), offers a 100% free of charge programme to volunteer and help underprivileged children in a safe environment, close to Ipanema Beach in Rio de Janeiro. Those with any experience in teaching, education, marketing, communication or fundraising are always welcome and highly appreciated if you are a dedicated and enthusiastic.
An NGO located in a shanty town community in Rio de Janeiro. SER Alzira de Aleluia’s mission is to work alongside the community of Vidigal, promoting citizenship and providing professional and educational training as well as promoting spaces of reflection, independence and empowerment. Volunteers assist giving English or Spanish lessons, computer classes, ballet, football, and volleyball classes to children and adults. Paying a one off fee to help fund the day to day running of the project gets your foot in the door. Secure, hostel style accommodation located above the centre is available for an additional fee. When we most recently checked them out their website wasn’t working. If this is still the case some information can be gleaned from their old website or try their Facebook page.
Help Exchange Networks in Brazil
Volunteer Latin America – https://www.volunteerlatinamerica.com/volunteer-abroad/brazil
Workaway – https://www.workaway.info/hostlist-BR.html
Hovos – https://www.hovos.com/host/South-America/Brazil/
Other Ways to Travel or Stay for Free in Brazil
Stay for free in return for caring for local residents’ homes or pets. Join Trusted Housesitters to live rent free as a house sitter (Americans may prefer this link). You can get a free Airbnb credit from us here too.
Image copyright Eco Caminhos