An NGO based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Community in Action, or CiA, was founded in 2004. As stated on their website, "Our mission is to offer social outreach programs throughout Rio's favelas (shanty towns) as well as personal development opportunities for social entrepreneurs and foreign volunteers. We work with local residents, schools and NGOs to generate local change."
The reason CiA focuses on the favelas in Rio is because they are home to more than a million residents and yet these communities lack "educational opportunities and extra-curricular activities for youth, infrastructure support to build and restore homes (and) empowerment programs for women."
You can watch this 3:20 minute video (with very catchy music) to meet some of the favela residents and see the work being done by CiA. The current list of volunteer projects includes teaching handicrafts, computers or English, providing child care, working in an urban garden, painting murals and more.
CiA provides compelling reasons to make this your next volunteer vacation. "When you sign up with Community in Action, you'll be with our team and our partners in Rio, learning about the true lifestyle and culture of the favela! We offer the most well-rounded volunteer experience, with opportunities to work in five (5) different favelas and participate in nine (9) different projects. Furthermore, you don't need to volunteer with only one project - you can partake in numerous projects during your time in Rio."
If that makes you want to get a Portuguese phrasebook and a plane ticket, you can learn about placement details here. If you'd rather show your support from the comfort of your couch, you can do that by liking the CiA Facebook page and following them on Twitter @VolunteerinRio. Obrigado!
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