Santarem, Brazil

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Brazilian FlagLocation | Santarem, Brazil
Photos | Found here
Blog |
Read more about Amizade in Brazil
Videos | Watch videos about Amizade in Brazil
Support | Community Initiatives in Brazil
Service Opportunities | Building Community Centers , Teaching English, Teaching Art, Medical Placements, Clean water initiatives
Cultural and Recreational Highlights | Amazon forest tour, beach, capoeira, sports, dancing, visiting a coffee factor, visiting a Cargill Plant or Fordlandia.


The Tapajós region is located in the western part of the state of Pará, Brazil. The region comprises 25 municipalities, over one million people, and covers 722,358 square kilometers. The majority of the region is tropical forest and includes the Tapajós National Forest and other biological preserves. The main city in the region is Santarém which located on the confluence of the Tapajós and Amazon Rivers.

Amizade volunteers in BrazilThe region is much poorer than the rest of Brazil. In recent years, however, several large multinational agribusiness companies have begun to clear-cut the region and grow soy and rice. The extension of non-tropical economic activities is altering a significant portion of the existing ecosystems.  This growth is causing major environmental impact.

Poverty and the problems associated with poverty such as inadequate housing, poor health and nutrition, a failing educational system, etc. are prevalent throughout Santarém and its surrounding regions. The city has a population of over 300,000 people. Consequently, with its already limited resources, the city has not been able to provide services for the ever-growing population nor has it been able to address the expanding rate of poverty, especially to those who live in the periphery of the city.

Volunteers working in Brazil

Lodging | Dormitories, homestays possible
Food | Lots of fresh fish, rice, beans, fruit
Flights | Through Manaus or Sao Paulo
Visa | Yes, in advance from an embassy
Communication | Cell networks; wifi
Closest Airport | Santarem, Brazil

Our Community Partners

The Fundação Esperança (FE) | FE is a Brazilian nonprofit organization that has been providing health and education to the inhabitants of the Amazon for over 40 years. The health clinic has a history of receiving volunteer dentists and physicians to provide care for many people of the Amazon.

The Pastoral do Menor | The Pastoral do Menor is a Brazilian non-governmental organization, under the social works umbrella of the Diocese of Santarém. It was founded in Februrary of 1988. As a charitable, nonprofit, inspired by the Catholic faith, the Pastoral develops strategies for the social inclusion of at-risk youth in urban Santarém and it’s rural municipalities. Since its inception, the Pastoral do Menor has been campaigning for children´s rights, as well as offering a safe haven for children between the ages 8 of 18. The organization seeks to empower youth personally and professionally through educational courses, vocational training, academic support and recreational activities. Its courses include carpentry, silk-screening, knitting, jewelry making, sports, tutoring, musical instruments and singing, and computers. As of 2011, the Pastoral serves more than 2,000 at-risk youth. In addition to its on-site programming, the Pastoral helps its registered youth obtain health and legal consultations as needed.

APAE | The Association of Parents and Friends (Amigos) of Exceptionals (APAE) was founded in 1977 to provide assistance in health, education, and welfare to people with disabilities. It is the only private, non-profit organization in the area (a region that is approximately the size of Belgium) that is actively promoting the prevention, rehabilitation, and education of physically and mentally disabled children.

The Commitment

Cooling off in BrazilProjects that are available vary with each program. Volunteers do not need any special skills to participate, just a willingness to serve. Service projects are coordinated according to a schedule set by the community; therefore, they may change at the last minute to better fit the current needs of the community. Where possible, volunteer’s individual interests may be accommodated through specific service projects or additional recreational and cultural activities.

The Impact

Amizade has been working in Brazil for over 15 years and the impact has been tremendous. Amizade and local volunteers have achieved the following:

  • Built a vocational training center for under-served youth and adolescences - The center teaches carpentry, sewing, silk screening, and electronics to over 2000 teenagers.
  • Built a children’s health center. The children center provides prenatal and early childhood health-care to over 1000 children per month.
  • Renovated a kitchen for a program working with under-served youth and adolescences which allows them to provide snacks and/or lunch to approximately 200 students per day.
  • Built a well drilling center which brings fresh water to communities and schools – Volunteers have also drilled a half a dozen wells bringing fresh water to hundreds of people in isolated communities.
  • Built an orthopedic workshop – Now, a city of 250,000 people has access to affordable orthopedic shoes. Additionally, the workshop employs 10 developmentally disabled teenagers.
  • Built a small hotel for a program that works with handicapped teenagers and adults – The hotel serves as a vocational training program as well as generates income for the program.
  • Built additional classrooms for schools and community organizations serving over 1,000 kids.

Volunteers do not need any special skills to participate, just a willingness to serve. Local masons supervise and teach both the Amizade volunteers and local volunteers on every part of the project.

One of the most rewarding aspects of participating on the Amizade program is making friends with the local people. Brazilians are a warm, welcoming people who love to laugh, sing, and dance. Volunteers get the opportunity to work and play with the local people and get the opportunity to experience first hand the rich culture of Brazil.

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