COPAME, the Community Children's Aid Association, is a non-profit NGO located in the city of Santa Cruz do Sul. It provides shelter for orphans and children suffering from abuse or abandonment.

This program has been devised for the cultural enrichment of the orphanage. The children already have educational, medical and psychological assistance and the role of the volunteer is to help them with their educational tasks and bring them a taste of foreign language and culture. S&K has already been involved in a similar project and due to its success is now teaming up with Copame. The participant will take part in all volunteer activities.

Santa Cruz do Sul is located about a thousand kilometers south of São Paulo. It is a city of about 80,000 inhabitants with over 100,000 in the municipality. Santa Cruz started as a German immigration center in the first half of the 1800s, having become an interesting blend of cultures today.

Santa Cruz is rather prosperous and safe compared to other Brazilian cities. We are 100 miles (160 km.) from Porto Alegre, the largest city, the state capital and the nearest commercial airport. The main economic activity of Santa Cruz is leaf tobacco production, processing and exporting. Other industries are clothing, corn seed production, machinery, and rubber. There is also a university.

The accommodations will be provided by ASBI in a 2-bedroom and 2-bathroom fully furnished apartment located downtown.

The accommodations are provided in return for the volunteer work at COPAME. The volunteers will make themselves available for up to 30 hours a week for COPAME and ASBI. The volunteer will also receive an allowance ranging from R$100 to R$180 per week for their personal expenses.

Lunch: On working days the volunteer can have lunch at the orphanage cafeteria for free.

Portuguese training: During the school semestres, from mid March to mid July and from mid August to mid December, ASBI will offer two Portuguese group lessons or one private lesson (depending on levels) a week for free.

Additional obligations of COPAME:
1. To meet the participant at the nearest commercial airport and provide transportation to his/her accommodations.
2. To provide telephone access and make available to the participant computers with Internet access and e-mail on weekdays.
3. To provide continuous orientation and support.

The participant's obligations are:
1. To be available Monday through Saturday for up to 30 hours per week. The volunteer's free time must be available for COPAME and ASBI according to their needs. Working hours can be scheduled between 8 AM to 7 PM.
2. To be careful with the furniture and conscious about energy saving, not forgetting lights or electric heaters on when leaving the accommodations.
3. To have medical insurance for the duration of your stay.

Summer and winter breaks:
Volunteers coming for 2 semesters or more may have a break between semesters of 2 or 3 weeks in July (winter) and 2 months from Christmas to the end of February (summer). However, this is only a possibility, which needs to be negotiated with COPAME and ASBI.

Leisure activities
Another part of the program is the cultural weekend excursions organized by ASBI. These TURISMO CULTURAL items are occasional weekend trips to places of interest in a 9-passenger van. ASBI covers the cost of gas, and each person pays for his/her personal expenses. The idea is to show a larger area of Brazil and integrate cultures bringing together people of different backgrounds in an informal atmosphere so that everybody learns Portuguese having fun together.

If you are accepted to our program, you will receive the documents for a social work visa or a trainee visa. This visa is good for up to one year, and you have to apply in your home country.

If you are not in your home country, the only possibility is to come on a tourist visa. A tourist visa however is good for only 6 months.

If you are interested in our program, let me know. The application process is quite simple. You send me a resume and a photo. I will then refer you to our human resources recruiter for a phone interview, who will be also able to answer all your questions.

If the volunteer arrives by air, we provide airport pickup from the nearest commercial airport (Porto Alegre), which is 100 miles from Santa Cruz do Sul, where we are. If the volunteer travels by bus, he/she is expected to arrive at the bus terminal of Santa Cruz. There are daily buses from São Paulo to Santa Cruz (a 19-hour journey!) and from Buenos Aires to Porto Alegre (a 20-hour journey). There are also comfortable buses running almost every hour between Porto Alegre and Santa Cruz (a 2-hour trip).