By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – With a little less than fifteen days to go to the end of registrations, the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games’ Volunteer Program has already received over 130,000 applications from candidates of 180 countries, according to the Rio 2016 Volunteer Program. The Local Organizing Committee says approximately 70,000 applicants will be chosen to work at the games; 45,000 in the Olympics and the rest in the Paralympics.
“We are very happy that the response has been so positive. It is really good to see so many people wanting to play an active role in South America’s first Olympic and Paralympic Games, and share the thrill of this historic event,” says Henrique Gonzalez, the Organizing Committee’s Human Resources Director.
According to Iracema Dantas, press officer at the Volunteer Program, the largest numbers of volunteers applying for a chance to work at the 2016 Rio Olympics and Paralympics come from Brazil, Russia, the UK, the U.S. and China.
To encourage Britons to volunteer for the Games, the U.K. Embassy in Brazil has turned to its social media pages to get the word out. “We have talked about the volunteer program in our Facebook page as well as our other social media pages to inspire Britons to register,” says the press office at the U.K. Consulate in Rio. According to the department, so far 4,366 U.K. nationals have registered to become a volunteer at the Games.
With the slogan, “Be your hero’s hero. Be a Volunteer” Carlos Nuzman, President of the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee says that the volunteers will reflect the diversity of talents, cultures, ages and interests. “All this diversity will be added to the other thousands of people who will come to Brazil for a greater goal, to participate in the realization of the largest multisport event in the world with excellence, passion and joy, for the first time in Brazil,” added Nuzman.
To take part, volunteers must be at least eighteen years old as of February 2016 (there is no maximum age limit) and ideally to have completed basic education, as well as being available to participate in the selection process and during the Games.
The Olympics Organizing Committee will provide an online English course for everyone who registers for the selection process. Those selected will receive specific training according to their function, and also receive a uniform, food and transport on the days they work, and a certificate of participation. Selected foreign volunteers will be exempt from the visa fee for the Rio 2016 Games and visas for those volunteers will be expedited.
Volunteers will work in nine areas: serving the public, sports, press and communications, operational support, production of ceremonies, protocol and languages, healthcare, technology and transport.
To learn more about the available volunteer positions and to register, go to the official Olympic website here.