From the moment you begin to explore volunteering in Brazil, you’ll realize this nation is bold in every way: in its celebrations, flavors and the vibrant colors of its landscape. Beneath the surface, the South American country remains one that can engage your senses and steal your heart. What’s more important, however, is that there are many ways for you to give back to Brazil as much as it offers you. Here are some things to know about Brazil and the best volunteer programs available to interested volunteers like you.
Know Before You Go
Brazil is huge. Not only does it occupy almost half of the entire South American continent, but it is the fifth-largest country in the world. Home to some of the planet’s best beaches and acres of unfettered Amazon landscape, Brazil is also one of the most populous countries on earth. Between the stunning natural resources and the populated cities and rural towns, there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer in Brazil in ways that leave a positive footprint.
Brazil entered a recession in 2014, but three years later the economy began to turn around, and the country officially exited the recession in late 2017. Still, the recent economic difficulties have left some communities in need of special attention. Resources are far from being equally distributed — according to Oxfam, the richest 5 percent of Brazilian residents have the same income as the rest of the country combined. In fact, the six richest Brazilians own as much wealth as the poorest 50 percent. This income disparity creates the need for free services in Brazil, from education to urban gardens.
What can you expect during your time volunteering in Brazil? The native language is Portuguese, and English is not widely spoken, particularly in small communities. On top of learning some basic Portuguese before you depart, you should prepare to rub a lot of elbows; the country has 13 cities with a population of more than 1 million. Food in Brazil is centered around rice and beans combined with protein. The national dish is feijoada, a beloved stew. You can also expect to be served fresh fruit and strong coffee.