On the 12th June the world will wait with baited breath as the first match of the Brazil World Cup 2014 kicks off as host country Brazil faces underdogs Croatia. Fans will have the chance to watch football in the country where Pelé, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Socrates first kicked a ball, but for many, watching the players fight it out in the stadium will be the end of their cultural experience.
For those that are keen to get to know more about the country behind the football, adding a volunteering project as a chance to give back to Rio’s impoverished communities is a fantastic opportunity to give back. So if you want to turn your sport pilgrimage into a true adventure, make sure to take a look behind the city’s scenes…
An easy way to get a look at the ‘real’ Rio is to immerse yourself within the favela community. By partaking in an introductory or favela tour you’ll get an insight into the vibrant carnival culture which Rio is famous for.
Recommended for… Whoever wants to discover Rio’s soul.
Be aware that…You have to be in Rio de Janeiro on the same day as your tour. Tours run from 10am to 2pm on weekdays and 12pm to 4pm on weekends.
Good credentials… A percentage of the tour fee goes straight back into the favela community, directly helping to support a number of initiatives aimed at getting kids off the streets and people back into work.
If you have a longer stay planned in Rio, you might want to consider joining a community development volunteering project running for two weeks or more. Through a series of educational programs you can help impoverished local communities to acquire expertise and knowledge to expand their academic and career opportunities. By teaching and transferring skills, you will allow locals to be more competitive in the job market, and there is a wide range of activities you can be involved in: music and dance, graffiti art, sport, gardening, handcrafts for women and young people. If you have a basic level of Portuguese you could consider teaching English or IT, or offering tutoring services.
Recommended for… Anyone that wants to make the most of this World Cup experience
Be aware that… To take part to the project you have to commit for a minimum of two weeks and you will stay in a local hostel sharing a dorm room with your fellow volunteers.
Good credentials… This project will help you to gain valuable job experience in teaching while contributing to the sustainable development of a friendly and vibrant community in one of Rio’s largest favelas.
For more details, prices and booking visit www.frontier.ac.uk
About the author: Cristina Nanni works for Frontier, a non-profit international volunteering NGO that runs over 300 dedicated conservation, community, and adventure projects in 61 countries across the globe. Find out more about Frontier’s volunteer projects, ethical adventure trails and gap year planning.
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