The Construction Program
This essential program was created with a simple goal in mind. Help families in the Complexo do Alemão favela repair their homes to provide them with a safe place to live. Housing is a fundamental human right under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and everyone should have a safe, secure and habitable home. In Complexo do Alemão, this right is not met, with the abject poverty seeing generations of families living in shacks and with a population now of more than 70,000! Building codes are non-existent and many families build their own homes with whatever scraps of wood, brick or metal they can find. Residents of favelas suffer from health conditions due to overcrowding and unsanitary conditions, with the average life expectancy 13 years less than other residents of Rio.
While residents try to repair their homes to the best of their ability, many are unable to afford basic food and clothing, so often construction materials are simply out of reach. This project allows residents and volunteers to work together to repair and maintain these homes and create a warm, safe and sanitary place for families to live.
Goals of this Project:
- Improve the future prospects of families in one of Rio’s largest shanty towns
- Alleviate health and social issues within the Complexo do Alemão favela by supplying warm, safe and sanitary conditions for families to live in
- Provide free labor and some basic materials to help build or repair homes for residents
- Enable cultural exchange with benefits residents and international volunteers alike
How You Can Help
This project makes a genuine difference to the health and safety of residents, with volunteers being integral to its success. Without the manual labour and supplies provided by a willing international volunteer workforce the most vulnerable residents of Complexo do Alemão would continue to experience the health and social issues associated with substandard housing. Many local residents report that they are simply unable to repair damages caused by mudslides or storms or to build additional rooms on overcrowded homes. The manual labor assistance provided by the program enables local residents to pursue projects that they’ve been wanting to accomplish for years, such as painting homes, landscaping or basic construction tasks to create liveable homes. Having a home favela residents can be proud of is a catalyst for change, building their confidence and self-worth to help them achieve their goals. Residents will live safer, happier lives and gain cultural understanding from working alongside international volunteers.
Volunteers can expect to:
- Help implement manual labor projects: painting, landscaping, basic home repair
- Provide some basic supplies (amount set prior to placement)
- Prepare and lead activities
- Network with local residents and program staff
- Monitor progress and write debriefs
Love Volunteers welcomes all those 18 years and over who wish to have a tangible and lasting impact on the lives of families and communities facing extreme poverty in Brazil. This 'hands-on' project is ideally suited to those volunteers with some knowledge and experience in construction or any of the building trades, however the project is open to all and does not require participants to have specific education, qualifications or experience, as you will be shown everything you need to know by your local project leader. Importantly though, all applicants must first and foremost have a genuine willingness to help, be fit and active, show drive and initiative, and bring a positive 'can-do' attitude. If this sounds like you, we want you on the team!
Additionally, volunteers applying to join this program will be required to supply to following documentation:
- Emergency contact
This program is located in one of Rio de Janeiro’s largest favela (shanty town) communities - Complexo do Alemão - in the northern part of this sprawling city. Rio is Brazil’s second most populous city after Sao Paulo and is symbolized by the iconic statue of Christ the Redeemer which stands atop Sugarloaf Mountain and watches over all of Rio. World renowned for its eponymous carnival, Copacabana and Ipanema beaches and of course the 2016 Olympics, Rio has something to offer every traveler. This is an amazing location for volunteers to not only give back to the local communities but to have a truly memorable experience!
Start Dates & Duration
This project is available year-round and programs start every SUNDAY. Volunteers can choose to participate for periods ranging from 1 week to 12 weeks. Longer stays can be arranged directly with the local team, but will be subject to availability and individual visa conditions.
Spaces on this project are limited and therefore subject to availability. Early booking is recommended.
For current available start dates please check the calendar on the right.
Arrival & Orientation
Upon your arrival in Rio de Janeiro, you will be collected at the airport and delivered to your accommodation. On Monday morning you will receive an orientation to help you settle in, find out about your volunteering placement, the local surroundings and meet your fellow volunteers (if you haven't already!). A representative from the local team will fill you in on local and regional customs, traveling, rules and recommendations, and of course, what to expect from your volunteering experience. They will also help you with purchasing a local sim phone card if required. Local maps and a transport guide are provided free of charge by the hostel. This is a great opportunity to get to know your hosts, meet your fellow volunteers, and ask any last questions you may have!
- Program Arrival Day: SUNDAY
- Program Departure Day: SATURDAY
- Arrival/Departure Airport: Rio de Janeiro–Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport (aka Galeão International Airport), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Code: GIG)
Accommodation & Meals
Volunteers on this project are accommodated at one of Rio de Janeiro’s top youth hostels - the CabanaCopa Hostel - which is perfectly located in the safe and popular area of Copacabana next to a beautiful nature park just three blocks from the famous Copacabana Beach and within convenient access to metro stations, restaurants and the many attractions of this vibrant city. Volunteers will stay in shared dormitory-style rooms of various sizes, with shared bathroom facilities. Hostel amenities include (but are not limited to): bed linens, breakfast, drinkable water, hot water, luggage storage, maps/tourist information, high-speed internet, 24hr security and Check-in, A/C in rooms (or ceiling fans), big individual lockers, multilingual staff, towels, other entertainment options such as TV rooms. Several awesome communal areas are provided for guests to hang out, catch up with the many fellow travellers, or to simply relax!
All standard amenities are available in the hostel, including hot showers and modern bathrooms, air conditioning/ceiling fans, microwave, bed linen and free drinking water. There is even free Wi-Fi, an onsite bar and a pool table! Private double rooms w/ensuite are available on request for an additional fee and external laundry services are available nearby. The hostel is well managed and meticulously clean, is a perfect home away from home and a wonderful base for your stay in Rio!
Volunteers are provided with a traditional Brazilian breakfast every day at the hostel (included in the program fee). They then have the opportunity to use other meals times to experience the amazing culture and cuisine that Rio has to offer. Simply get a few of your fellow hostel mates together and head out to one of the many local restaurants, bars or cafes and enjoy all the local and international delicacies on offer! Easy!
*In addition to the program fees listed above a Registration Fee is payable to secure your place. The registration fee is USD 299 for those volunteering with Love Volunteers for the first time or USD 149 for any subsequent volunteer placements. The registration fee includes: lifetime LV Alumni Membership, fundraising support & advice, dedicated pre-departure support, certificate of completion (on request), and exclusive access to the LV Trip Planner.
Some things are not included in the program fees listed above, such as flights, visas, vaccinations, travel insurance, additional foods and snacks, spending money, local transport, in-country trips and excursions, return airport transfer (unless mentioned above).
Please note that prices are subject to change without notice. Please ensure you have read the Love Volunteers Terms and Conditions & Refund Policy.
Prefer a private room?
Private rooms can be arranged at the hostel for an additional charge of approximately US$45 per night (dependent on availability. Price confirmed at time of booking).
Need extra nights at the hostel?
The listed program fee above covers your accommodation from Sunday to Saturday each week of your program, but for those who wish to stay on in Rio after the completion of their volunteering program (to explore or to simply wait for a more convenient departing flight time), extra nights at the hostel can be arranged for US$25 per night. Simply let us know and we will book this for you (additional accommodation fees to be paid directly to the local team on arrival into Rio).
Arranging your own accommodation?
If you would prefer to arrange your own accommodation the program fee will be adjusted accordingly.
1 week: US$220
2 weeks: US$270
+ US$75 for each additional week.