Frequently Asked Questions

Getting there and away

We offer flexible start dates. You need to allow sufficient time to make travel arrangements and organise inoculations and other medical requirements.

We can offer you work in caring, teaching English, community development and environmental projects.

You will gain a different perspective upon the country and culture in which you are working. You will make lasting friendships and have a profound understanding of the reality of the lives of others. You will come back enriched and with a deeper self awareness than before you left home.

Most volunteers go for about three months and our programmes are built around this. However, we can arrange any length of stay from two weeks to six months. If you wish to experience different places and/or different types of work, this also can be arranged.

Yes. We will be happy to discuss that with you should you wish to do so.

Any person of any age can take part in our programmes. You can work with all age groups when you are out there, from babies to the elderly. Our volunteers vary in age from 18 to 80.

You do not need any qualifications to volunteer with us. You need empathy for your fellow human beings, the ability to get on with others and adapt to different cultural customs and behaviour, and a desire to make a difference in a foreign community. If you have special qualifications or experience, we will try to use these if you wish.

You do not need to be able to speak another language but we do strongly recommend that you take a basic Portuguese language course before going to Brazil and take more lessons whilst you are there. You will get much more out of your experience, and the people you are working with will greatly appreciate your efforts. Our representatives are all fluent English speakers and will be available to assist where necessary. Some projects have English speakers available to help.

Yes, we have projects where you can work with friends or family.

We have projects in different parts of Brazil, all of which offer a different cultural experience. You can go to the North East, to the sun drenched states of Bahia or Rio Grande do Norte; you can go to Rio de Janeiro where we work with partners in both the city and in the interior of the state; you can work in São Paulo, that great South American metropolis that typifies the contrast that exists in Brazil between the wealthy and the very poor; you can work in the South in Paraná, which is outside the tropics.

We can arrange a number of exciting activities to make your stay a much richer experience. You can participate in festivals, learn to dance, sample Brazilian cookery, learn about the rich heritage of Brazilian music and travel to places in Brazil that are not offered by travel companies.

Health & Safety

As long as you behave sensibly and responsibly it is safe. You need to take the same precautions in large cities as you would in any country. You will be fully briefed on safety precautions before you leave the UK.

Probably, depending on the vaccinations you have already had. You will need to go to your doctor or a travel clinic to take advice. Make sure you leave enough time before your departure to have the inoculations you need.

Your medical insurance should cover you for any expenses. Our representative will be there to help you and accompany you if you need to go to hospital and to ensure that you have an English speaking doctor available. Brazilian medical care in the best hospitals is as good as anywhere in the world.

Support from Bowles Volunteering

We have fully trained representatives on hand to help you. They will meet you at the airport, arrange your orientation course in country, be on hand to answer your queries and sort out any problems that may arise. They are all experienced at working with volunteers and know the projects. They all speak fluent English.

All our placements are tailor made to suit your requirements. Costs will vary from project to project according to the level of accommodation you require and your preferred length of placement. As a guideline, our charges for a 4-week placement in basic accommodation will start from £1090. Full details will be worked out with you when arranging your placement.

The prices do not include any flights, insurance, transport to and from the airport in the UK, transport from the city of arrival to your placement, transport from your placement to the airport at the end of your stay, some meals, any other travelling or activities that you decide to do, any inoculations, visas, medical or other expenses, personal expenses such as phone calls, language tuition, TEFL tuition.

BVB will ensure part of your charge is spent in Brazil for the direct benefit of our projects there.  Again, the amount will vary according to each client's placement duration but will never be less than £200.

The work is voluntary and you will not be paid. Many people ask why they should pay to volunteer. The reason for this is that arranging your placement and the work that you do involves real costs, both here in the UK and in the placement in which you are working, to ensure that you have:

- a safe environment

- 24 hour emergency contacts

- matching and preparation process between projects and volunteers in the UK

- personal pre-departure briefing

- transfer from the airport to your accommodation for the orientation in country

- placement evaluation and monitoring

- accommodation

- food to eat

- a brief orientation course to introduce you to the country when you arrive

- a contribution to the project where you will be working

- tools or equipment needed to complete your role

All of this costs money.

Many volunteer recruitment organisations do not make any contribution to their placements but we believe that it is morally wrong to expect economically deprived communities to subsidise volunteers from rich nations in any way.

Neither Bowles Volunteering nor the projects themselves are funded through government or large NGOs. Without the volunteers being self-funding, many of the projects themselves would not exist. Bowles Volunteering is committed to treating all its partners, staff and customers ethically, fairly and to operating in a transparent manner.

You have a choice of accommodation. You can stay with families, in hostels, guesthouses, apartments or, if you wish to pay more, in hotels. We will discuss all the options with you in detail as there will be many factors affecting your choice.

This varies from project to project and also depends on the type of accommodation that you choose. If you are lodging with a family, you will normally stay on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis and lunch will be provided in your placement. If you are in a guesthouse, you will normally stay on a bed and breakfast basis, lunch will be provided in your placement and you will have to pay for your own dinner. We will discuss your requirements and options in full with you when deciding where you will be volunteering.

Yes, we can discuss their requirements with you and how best you can help. These projects always have needs well beyond their resources.

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