BRAZIL: Education & Development


Adventure Overview:

  • 2 weeks
  • 1 month
  • 6 weeks
  • 2 months
  • 3 months

Life for many young people in the favela's of Rio has limited opportunities, they are at a great disadvantage when it comes to obtaining a decent education and many are dependant on the support of different projects established in the communities to assist and boost learning. This project is one such place where young people and adults alike are able to access educational support for free. The changes that occur in the lives of young people as a result of this project are remarkable - doors of opportunity are opened to them which otherwise they could never have considered.

Our project is located in one of Rio's largest favela communities and offers excellent volunteer English teaching opportunities for college students, gap year students and adults looking to make an immediate difference. No previous English teaching experience needed!

Having been established around the edges of Rio, the favelas (Brazilian shanty towns) have become small communities in their own right. Rio has 500 different favelas and with a third of the city’s population living in them, the socio-economic differences between the favelas and the city of Rio are very apparent. Each favela is a labyrinth of passages, alleyways and hidden doors, something of a rabbit warren which can seem mind-boggling at first, but once you have found your way around you will see how these alleyways are full of stories of many different lives - stories of determination and hope. In the past the favelas had a very poor reputation for safety and high crime rates, however much has changed over the years with the help of charities and community projects, and with the success of Rio's bid to host both the World Cup and the Olympics much has been done to develop these areas and transform the lives of those in the communities.

There is still much work to be done however, and the communities still require a great deal of support to enable them to access the opportunities that exist in this country and to give them more of an equal standing in their society.

The 2016 Olympic Games will bring millions of foreign tourists to Rio de Janeiro. With these events quickly approaching, an ability to speak English opens up many professional opportunities for local residents in the service and tourism industries. Unfortunately, access to English classes is limited for many residents of the community who would otherwise be poised to take advantage of these opportunities. Through our project you will be part of the solution for these communities, enabling them to access new opportunities and be part of this global celebration in their country.

What is Included?

  • Accommodation
  • Food
  • 24 / 7 Support
  • Training
  • Information Pack
  • Accommodation:During your time in Rio you will stay in one of the local hostels which has a strong relationship with the project. The rooms will be shared with other visitors / volunteers. Please note that prices may vary according to the time of year you are looking to visit.
  • Food: You will receive a food allowance during your time in Rio paid directly into your account and meals are readily available at very decent prices. Breakfast will be provided in the hostel.
  • Training: All volunteers setting out on an adventure with us receive pre-departure training to help you prepare for the experience ahead. This training covers all the areas you need to think about before you pack your bags. It gives you time to focus and prioritise, and provides you with the knowledge and information you need in order to have a safe, fulfilling and enjoyable adventure. On arrival at your project you will also receive orientation training which will help you to better understand the local culture and support you as you find your way around this new country. On your return we will also support you as you readapt to life back home. We encourage you to keep in contact with us and consider opportunities for you to stay connected to the work you have been part of with Agapé. In addition to all of this training you will also receive a comprehensive welcome pack full of useful information on your project, the country and the culture, as well as detailed safety and communication lists.
  • Support: Agapé Adventures respects that each person is unique, and thus has different needs, and we endeavour to meet those genuine needs as effectively as we can. All volunteers are supported by Agapé every step of the way. You will be allocated a line manager to assist you in the day to day aspects of your adventure and staff at Agapé’s main base who will be available 24/7 for any out of hours emergencies. All staff involved in supporting you, work together to provide coordinated, personal and professional support throughout your adventure. 
  • Adventure Package: During your time in project we will coordinate an exiting adventure package for you. Where possible we try to tailor this to your interests, otherwise this will be a group event with other volunteers. A time to do something completely different and enjoy the country in which you're living in a whole new way! Here in Ireland the adventure package will be discussed with you all as a group during the first few months of your time in project. 
  • Airport Collection & Drop Off:  On arrival into Rio you will need to catch a taxi into the hostel / project base depending on the time of your arrival. The project team will then liase with you regarding your start time and show you where to find all you require.

What Isn't Included

  • Adventure Package
  • Stipend
  • Visa
  • Flights
  • Insurance

What will I do?:

Short-term intensive English classes enable favela residents to prepare for the job market, school exams, and to master areas of specific interest or difficulty.  This flexible format is perfect for volunteers who have the desire to make a direct impact, but cannot commit for the duration of a full-semester or longer.  

During your time here you will have opportunity to deliver a number of classes with a variety of focus depending on your area of skills, interest and knowledge. You can help in local schools providing extra tutoring in Maths, Literacy, Writing & even IT.

Many residents of the favela do not yet know how to turn on a computer, open a program, or conduct online research.  The project is helping narrow the digital divide by offering computer training in several schools, community centers, and churches throughout the region. In 2013/4, the team will be working with five organizations, reaching more than 1,000 students through computer literacy programs.  As a volunteer, depending on your skill-set and placement opportunities, you will be teaching classes as the primary teacher, supporting computer maintenance, or serving as a teacher’s aid.  This will be up to you!

For the asipring social entrepreneur, we also offer an opportunity to help design an English program and facilitate workshops for youth and adults.  You will collaborate with the staff team prior to your arrival to determine the workshop topics and age groups best suited to your experience.

In addition to the class based opportunities there will also be opportunity for you to get involved in the more creative workshops the project runs. Depending on your areas of interest you could help with soccer clubs, capoeira lessons, graffitti art, music and dance. There are plenty of opportunities to keep active during your time in Rio.

The Local Area

At once both a cinematic cityscape and a grimy urban front line, Rio de Janeiro, known as the cidade maravilhosa (marvelous city), is nothing if not exhilarating. Flanked by gorgeous mountains, white-sand beaches and verdant rainforests fronting deep blue sea, Rio occupies one of the most spectacular settings of any metropolis in the world. Tack on one of the sexiest populations on the planet and you have an intoxicating tropical cocktail that leaves visitors punch-drunk on paradise.

With the seductive sounds of samba as their rallying cry, Rio’s residents, known as cariocas, have perfected the art of living well. From the world-famous beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema to the tops of scenic outlooks of Corcovado and Pão de Açúcar to the dance halls, bars and open-air cafes that proliferate the city, cariocas live for the moment without a care in the world. This idea of paradise has enchanted visitors for centuries, and there are dozens of ways to be seduced. You can surf great breaks off Prainha, hike through Tijuca’s rainforests, sail across Guanabára, dance the night away in Lapa or just people-watch on Ipanema Beach.

Read more:

Map of the Area



To start your very own adventure click below and apply to join one of our projects.

Youth in Action Comlamh Volunteering Options British Standards Keeping Children Safe