Celia Gonçalves Souza
Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Fellow Since 2004
This profile was prepared when Celia Gonçalves Souza was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2004.
Brazil is home to a unique cluster of religions imported in colonial times by African slaves and blended with native Brazilian mysticism. For years, these religions have led a peaceful if marginalized existence, but a new radical evangelical Protestant movement is sweeping the country and threatening to strangle these old faiths. Most Brazilians consider the issue to be only spiritual and thus the sole domain of the church, but Celia Goncalves is working show that this religious intolerance also impinges on fundamental human rights.
The New Idea