Brazil - São Paulo
Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world and its eighth largest economy, the largest country in South America. However, Brazil is also a country where a quarter of the population lives under the poverty line and which counts around 13 million illiterate people. Since English is essential to the development of a country, PIECES is committed to better education by teaching English to children and young adults. This also promotes cultural exchange between the people from different continents.
In Switzerland, we enjoy the privilege of free education. It is a matter of course. We often forget that in poorer countries the education system does not work reliably. Although compulsory schooling for children ages from 7 to 14 is mandatory in Brazil, it is poorly monitored. The schools are far apart and secondary schools are only available in the big cities. The schools are poorly equipped and in a structurally bad and unhygienic condition. Unfortunately, too little funding is provided by the state to support the education system. Under such conditions, school attendance is made more difficult and therefore only about one in eight children goes to school in the favelas. However, PIECES is strongly convinced that donations and the use of motivated volunteers can help the situation in Brazil.
With the help of donations, people in poorly educated countries like Brazil can be helped. Education is the key to poverty reduction and an important prerequisite for economic growth. Those with good education have comparably higher chances of employment and income. However, an incredible number of people are still excluded from elementary education. For this reason, "education for all" is a fundamental goal of the international community between developing and developed countries.
A practical approach to making a difference
By participating you are actually filling a need in the local community. You are not taking away opportunities from local teachers but enriching the local education environment by offering your time and your resources!
Volunteering for students
We adapted our volunteering offering to fit the busy schedule of students at the University of St. Gallen. Volunteering will take place during the semester break and will not extend further than one week into the next term. All projects have a duration of 3-4 weeks.
Additonally, Pieces covers the volunteers lodging and food costs for the duration of their stay.
As opposed to other volunteering platforms we are completely run by students on a voluntary basis. All funds we collect goes directly to our partner schools and to finance our organization. We DON'T give money to third parties but are directly in contact with our partnerschools.
Experience a new culture
Experience new food, new customs and meet new people. This is an incredible opportunity to leave your comfort zone and to truly commit to something you have never experienced before.
You will also be dealing with different important problems you might not have been confronted with before.
Before leaving for your project you will receive pedagogical training during our mandatory two day long bootcamp during which you will receive the tools required to communicate and teach in an effective manner.
Application Period for Volunteers
Upload your CV and a motivation letter (both in English) in ONE PDF-document, naming it “firstname.surname” (e.g. “frida.kahlo.pdf”). Introduce yourself in the motivation letter (1 page A4), and mention one or two preferences regarding the project destination, as well as why you are interested in going to these countries.
First application period: March 14th, 2023 - March 21st, 2023
Second application period: March 21st, 2023 - March 26th, 2023
The two application periods help us to organize the interviews so we can ensure that you will have the best possible experience with PIECES and receive all necessary information on time.
Interviews of Volunteer Candidates
Your English level will be tested while we get get to know you. We will also assess if you are fit for teaching at one of our projects. The interviews will take place on a weekly basis. If you meet our internal application standards we will send you a selection of possible interview time slots from which you will be able to freely choose. The later you apply the less choices you will have so keep this in mind when applying at the end of our applicaiton period. The interviews will take place online (Zoom) or at the University of St. Gallen.
Selection of the Volunteers
Volunteers will receive a confirmation e-mail with the final Board decision and respective details (including volunteering contract and further travel details).
The Volunteer Bootcamp will take place in person at the University of St. Gallen. During the duration of the bootcamp you will receive the tools required to effectively teach and communicate in a foreign environment. Former volunteers will also give you insights and personal advice for your specific project destination. You will also get the opportunity to meet your new volunteering team members. Attending the Bootcamp is mandatory for all prospective volunteers!
Dates of volunteering: to be determined
Warning: Exact dates will be subject to change but will fall within the lecture-free period after the exams. We highly recommend that applicants keep the dates around the advertised ones open.
Questions and Answers
What Our former Volunteers say
Q: Will I still be considered if I apply in the second application period? Should I apply before the first or second deadline?
This highly depends on the applicants of the first period. If we already were able to recruit our volunteers for our summer projects, we will not consider applicants in the second period. However, if we still need motivated volunteers, applications in the second period period will be considered. In any case, your chances to become a PIECES volunteer are higher if you apply during the first application period.
Q: Which expenses are covered by PIECES?
The organisation covers all expenses on-site, e.g. accommodation and food. Volunteers are expected to pay for their travel costs, i.e. airplane tickets, visa, etc.
Loïc Noël (Volunteer Winter 2022)
"They were two distinct parts of this trip for me. The first part was the actual volunteering which involved working in the partnerschool in the middle of the favelas. This experience was quite intense, and I would describe it as a “life experience”. The other part of our trip was visiting the country with my fellow volunteers. This was more like a classical travel experience"
PIECES is not a travel agency. We do not engage in “voluntourism” but real volunteering, which requires volunteers to adapt to extremely precarious living conditions, discomfort, and enter foreign and sometimes hostile social environments dealing with serious issues. This is a risk of volunteering abroad and PIECES cannot issue any explicit safety guarantee or accept any kinds of liability. We are also not liable for organizing your trip and travel documentation – we are, of course, here to help, but you remain responsible.
While applying to one of our projects, you should keep in mind that you will be giving up many conveniences we are used to in Switzerland. While on the project site, you are likely to have limited access to hygiene appliances, medical help, electricity, and transportation. You will also work long teaching hours. Make sure you are able and willing to deal with these kind of problems if you apply for volunteering. It is an incredible, life-changing experience but it is not meant to be a holiday.