The Favela English Program
This wonderful project was created with the goal of helping to improve the English speaking abilities of the residents of one of Rio de Janeiro’s largest favela (shanty town) communities: Complexo do Alemão, as well as the favelas of Vidigal and Rocinha, in the southern part of the city. As is common in many of the worlds poorer communities, an ability to speak English unlocks a new world of possibilities for children and opens up many professional opportunities for the working-age, often within the service and tourism industries. Unfortunately, access to English tuition is limited for many residents of the Complexo do Alemão community, so this project offers free short-term intensive English classes to enable favela residents to prepare for the job market, school exams, and to simply improve their future prospects.
Goals of this Project:
- Provide free English language classes to the residents of Complexo do Alemão – one of Rio’s largest favelas,
- Improve the future prospects of some of Rio’s most impoverished people, and help them to break the poverty cycle,
- Expose non-English speakers to native English speakers in order to improve pronunciation and conversational skills,
- Enable inter-cultural exchange which benefits both residents and international volunteers alike.
How You Can Help
Volunteers play an integral role in achieving the goals of this project. While there is no disputing the importance of local English teachers in the continuation of ongoing language skills development in a developing country, there is undeniable benefit to having native English speakers imparting their own inherent knowledge of a skill they have effectively spent their entire lives developing. The combination of first-hand knowledge of the English language and an often inability to speak the local language spoken by their students makes international volunteers great English teachers. Local students have no choice but to learn English if they are to communicate, their pronunciation is challenged and corrected when required, and it is in a form of English that is grammatically correct.
Volunteers on this project therefore provide a valid and effective means of English language tuition. They will contribute in a number of ways and can expect to undertake the following tasks:
- Teach English to classes of 5 – 30 students (per class)
- Design English curriculum and lesson plans (optional)
- Network with local residents and local project staff
- Monitor students’ progress and write debriefs
- By joining this project, volunteers also contribute toward material costs (included in program fees)
Love Volunteers welcomes all those 18 years and over who wish to help create a brighter future for children through the power of education. This project best suits those with experience and/or qualifications in the field of childhood development and education, though volunteers who simply wish to explore an interest in this field are also welcomed as there are many ways you can assist in the classroom. Whist not mandatory, completing a TEFL course prior to joining this project would prove to be highly beneficial. Volunteers on this project will need an understanding of Portuguese (or Spanish) in order to communicate effectively with staff and students. Importantly, all applicants must first and foremost have a genuine willingness to help, show drive and initiative, and bring a positive 'can-do' attitude. If this sounds like you, we want you on the team!
What about Vaccinations?
Additionally, volunteers applying to join this program will be required to supply to following documentation:
- Emergency contact
- Police check
This program is located in the favela (shanty town) communities of Vidigal and Rocinha, in the southern part of this sprawling city, and Complexo do Alemão, in Northern Rio. 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 3 weeks 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.
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).