Class XIV (2016-2017)

1. DANIEL CASTANHEIRA

Sponsor Club: Rotary Club João Pessoa-Norte, Paraíba, Brasil, District 4500 

Host Club: Rotary Club of Forest Lake, Brisbane, AUS, District 9630 

Daniel Castanheira was born in João Pessoa, the capital of Paraiba, a small state in the northeast of Brazil. While being a region rich in natural resources and with breathtaking landscape, it is also a region where basic services are inaccessible, social and income inequalities are stark, and communities are consistently affected by droughts. Within this context, he developed a great commitment to social justice. In 2011, Daniel started to volunteer at a local NGO that aims to promote and protect rights inherent to citizenship, especially those of children and adolescents, the disabled and elderly. He started providing free legal counselling and assisting in organizing capacity-building courses to officers of the Guardianship Councils. In 2015, Daniel was appointed Treasurer of the NGO and a member of the NGO’s Board.

Through his experience at the community level, Daniel developed a profound desire for his work to have a more global impact. After four years of private practice, he left his career as a lawyer and through a scholarship from the Brazilian Government, undertook a Masters in International Relations graduating in 2015. The research he conducted within the program developed his interest in the protection of conflict displaced populations. After completing the Master`s program, he interned with the Protection Unit of UNHCR’s office in Brasília. Additionally, during his time in Brasília and before coming to Australia, he worked as a Protection Assistant at the Institute of Migration and Human Rights, one of the organizations that represents Brazilian Civil Society at the National Committee for Refugees (CONARE). As a Protection Assistant, he worked with Refugee Status Determination procedures, specifically by conducting interviews with asylum-seekers, preparing advisory opinions on their eligibility for Asylum and presenting their cases at CONARE’s meetings.