Long-term volunteering in Brazil – 100% free
At out eco farm in Brazil we work with bioconstruction, organic farming and permaculture. We welcome volunteers to join Eco Caminhos, offering an unforgettable experience of living, working, and learning in the beautiful mountains of Nova Friburgo. Long-term volunteering is an excellent opportunity for people who are seriously thinking of changing their lives. Join us if you want to spend time in nature, produce your own food, build your own bioconstruction house and generate your own energy. We offer a new approach to volunteering and employment. People are at the centre of Eco Caminhos and we need highly motivated, intelligent people to join our cause and team. We help people to find ways to sustain themselves by giving them the freedom to start up their own income-generating project. We want to create complementary mini-eco-social-businesses based on the exchange of knowledge, services, and products. Read more about our community philosophy.
What will your average day be like?
Long-term volunteers who participate in the full-time programme will work 40 hours, 5 days a week. For part-time volunteers this is flexible. Volunteers work in our bioconstruction, organic farming, ecotourism and/or other projects. After your work day and on weekends, you are free to do as you please. Many of our volunteers use their weekends to explore Nova Friburgo or Rio de Janeiro.
Once a month the Eco Caminhos’ team unites in the evening to socialise. During these volunteer nights we usually cook together or make a fire outside, but we also welcome other suggestions and initiatives; what matters is that we spend time together.
Experience the Eco Farm life
Do amazing hikes
Generate your own income
Where will you be staying?
We have two volunteer houses, one for 6 volunteers and the other for 7 volunteers. The accommodations are basic and include the following facilities:
- Rooms for 2 to 3 volunteers.
- Small kitchen
- Living room
- Washing machine
- WiFi (during rainy season internet is out frequently)
To guarantee your safe and comfortable arrival our trusted driver Patrique can pick you and leave you at the Eco Caminhos doorstep. He will wait for you in the arrival hall with a small name plate. Patrique charges only R$ 360 (approx 110 US$), a very sharp price for Brazil. We can also arrange for you to be dropped off at a specific location on your day of departure.
Phase 1: Getting to know each other
Month 1 – 3
You start off in our free volunteer programme where you are offered accommodation, food, and Wi-Fi. You participate in a 40 hour routine in the projects that are available at the time (bioconstruction, farming, maintenance etc). During this period both the volunteer and Eco Caminhos get to know each other. We believe working in existing projects allows us to see if you can adjust yourself to the team, do hands-on work and keep your motivation up. Each month there is an evaluation during which the volunteer and the Eco Caminhos team evaluate one another. After 3 months there is a final evaluation where both sides decide whether they want to continue working together and commit to at least the end of the year.
Phase 2: Initiating income-generating projects
Month 4 – 12
After a “go” from both sides, the volunteer first needs to decide whether he/she wants to continue in the volunteer house or prefers to rent his/her own place. In case the volunteer decides to stay at the volunteer house, it is expected that the volunteer works 3 days per week at Eco Caminhos and 2 days on his/her project. If the volunteer decides to live on his/her own expenses, there are no expectations in terms of jobs at Eco Caminhos.
The project can be anything that fits within the vision of Eco Caminhos (preservation, social impact, education, farming, bioconstruction, etc). Very limited resources are available for setting up projects. This means that candidates either need to develop projects that require very little initial investment or raise their own funds. At Eco Caminhos we have a weekly creative meeting where projects are discussed and we all try to collaborate. Projects can be individual or in group, depending on the individual’s preference. Volunteers can come up with their own projects or we provide them with ideas.
Phase 3: Consolidate income-generating projects
Year 1 – 2
Each project is different and terms will need to be negotiated. The general idea is that projects first generate an income for the initiator. All the profit (income minus costs) generated up to 1200 Reais goes directly to the initiator. We believe that with 1200 Reais it is possible to self-sustain in Cardinot, including independent living. It is expected that as soon as a candidate is able to provide for him or herself, he or she starts to live independently.
Once the candidate generates more than 1200 reais, 50% of the profit above this value will go to the volunteer(s) and 50% will be invested in the Eco Caminhos fund, which will be used to reinvest in our apprentices programme, bioconstruction, organic farming, sustainable energy, reforestation etc. At this level you stop being a volunteer and are actually self-employed.
Phase 4: Become part of the Eco Caminhos management
Year 2 – 3
At this stage you should be earning yourself a comfortable income allowing you to spend more and more time doing what you like most. In case the cooperation with the management of Eco Caminhos flows well and we have established a trust relationship, there are many possibilities: 1) you become the manager of one of the main Eco Caminhos projects, 2) you get a profit share, 3) you buy your own property and we help you to build your bioconstruction house, 4) you become shareholder of Eco Caminhos by buying shares or exchanging your skills, resources, and/or services.
- Basic accommodation (shared room)
- Food: there is a budget per volunteer
- Bioconstruction and organic farming at Eco Caminhos
- Participate in volunteer nights including boardgames, cinema and campfires.
- Cleaning your room and the volunteer house is your own responsibility
- Food preparation: You will participate in the cooking schedule
- Airport transfer
- Activities that involve expenses
For our long-term programme we are looking for people with work experience. This can be in bioconstruction, construction, carpentry, farming, permaculture, eco tourism, marketing, and social work. In case you lack work experience but would like to become a long-term member, you can start off in our short-term volunteer programme. During 3 months you will learn a wide range of skills and after this period you could be invited for the long-term programme, depending on the work you have shown and how you function in our group.