Voluntary Work

  • admin
  • September 22, 2014

This post is also available in: itItaliano (Italian)

Be a volunteer with Il Sorriso

Download Volunteer with Il Sorriso – infos




‘Il Sorriso dei miei Bimbi’ is a project set up in 2002 by Barbara Olivi, an Italian living in Brazil, who began working with various education programmes for children and young people in 1998.

The principal objective of the NGO is to create better socio-educational conditions in the heart of the Rocinha community in Rio de Janeiro.

The NGO followed a didactic, formative path which proved to be stimulating and creative. The projects include:

  • Pre-school/nursery ‘Saci Sabe Tudo’ that has up to 100 children between the ages of 2 and 6;
  • ‘Projecto Jovem Rocinha’, a social integration and education programme for boys and girls;
  • ‘Alfabetização em Ação’, an after-school support and literacy project aimed at teens and younger children;
  • ‘Garagem das Letras’, the first literary café in Rocinha with internet, a kitchen, music events and cultural programmes for the whole community.



Il Sorriso dei miei Bimbi is more than happy to receive help from anyone who is willing to offer commitment and effort in whatever way possible, be that skills, qualifications or enthusiasm, as long as they are in accordance with the humanitarian objectives that characterise our organisation.

On our website, it is possible to see which areas you would be suited to; from maintenance and construction work to educational activities; from administrative tasks to economic analyses, from translation (Italian, Portuguese and English) to fundraising.

The volunteer programme


  • 18 years or over
  • Knowledge of Portuguese – even basic – in order to be able to get around our different projects (mainly within the favela)
  • Have a good level of independence and self-awareness, and behave with respect
  • Remember that it is important to offer care and affection whilst maintaining professionalism


  • General support to the services offered by the pre-school, literary café and Casa Jovem with basic languages and culture lessons; assistance to the teachers in the school; looking after the children; cleaning of the spaces; and preparing snacks for the students of the project
  • Support from a distance: evidence (in the form of photographs or reports) for our collaborators
  • Education projects for children and young people, compatible with the school calendar.
  • Logistical support and distribution of donations
  • Organisation of documents and other secretarial jobs



  • The volunteering period can be from a minimum of one month to a maximum of six months (depending on Brazilian visa laws)
  • The volunteer should not expect any type of reimbursement: travel, accommodation and other expenses will be a responsibility of the volunteer
  • We are a small NGO and we are not in the position to offer housing to the volunteers (but we are getting there!). We can offer suggestions of places to stay within the favela in the nearby neighbourhoods of Ipanema and Copacabana, with respective costs depending on the date and availability.
  • Insurance will be paid by bank transfer (47 euros) to Il Sorriso dei miei Bimbi Onlus – IBAN IT82G0103012803000001664680
  • Complete and sign the volunteer agreement which should also include the insurance policy (digital copy has to be sent before departure)



If you think your profile matches our work requirements, you will have to send your CV to barbara.pascali@ilsorrisodeimieibimbi.org and we will organise a skype interview (ba.pascali).




Getting to Rocinha can be a bit difficult. Knowing how to get around in this huge favela can take a little while; until you learn to recognise looks, gestures and general mannerisms, dealing with this environment is not the easiest task. The colours, smells and loud music of the main streets can drive you crazy, not to mention the incessant traffic and people everywhere. Our advice is to arrive the day before starting work in order to get used to the rhythm of the community.


  • From ‘Galeão Antônio Carlos Jobim’ airport:

Bus – Ônibus Frescão 2018 – Linha Aeroporto Internacional/Alvorada http://www.wikirio.com.br/Frescão

Get off the bus at the stop ‘São Conrado/Rocinha’. Check with the driver that it is the right stop by asking politely to advise you when you are getting close to the stop. (Frescão price: 16 R$ – Janeiro 2016)

Taxi – Walk to ‘Partidas’ (upper floor) and get one of the taxis that are dropping off passengers at the airport. Say that you want to go to ‘Passarela da Rocinha’. Journey: Rebouças – Estrada Lagoa/Barra – túnel Zuzu Angel – Passarela da Rocinha

If you arrive at the airport ‘Santos Dummont’, the instructions to get here by bus and taxi are the same.

  • From ‘Rodoviária Novo Rio’

Bus – Go to the city bus terminal (ônibus urbanos) and get the line ‘Troncal 4 – São Conrado x Rodoviária’. Get off at the stop ‘Passarela da Rocinha’

For additional information about how to get around Rio de Janeiro and to access timetables, look at the website http://www.rioonibus.com/2016/01/07/segunda-etapa-de-racionalizacao-das-linhas-da-zona-sul/.

The price of a bus journey is R$3.80 (Janeiro 2016). Remember to politely ask the driver to advise you when you are reaching your destination.

When buying the ticket to Rio, please let us know your flight details and which mode of transport you have chosen to get to Rocinha.


Barbara Olivi (21) 993686730

Julio De Rezende (21) 992936126

Carlo Botti (21) 968935257

Alessandra Urban (21) 966544593

The prefix 21 isn’t necessary if the call is being made within Rio. They all use whatsapp



Barbara Pascali



















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