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Microfinancing African Secularism


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Canadian Atheist

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2019/08/10

The Brighter Brains Institute or Humanists Global based out of the San Francisco Bay Area, California in the United States of America wants to assist with the development of the atheist community within various African nation-states. This is through microfinancing.

Microfinancing or the gifting of microfunds does not remain a new phenomenon, but one used for the assistance of entrepreneurs at various levels. One ex-Muslim and atheist, Mubarak Muhammed Bala, is the President of the Humanist Association of Nigeria.

Humanists Global is a non-profit entity and, therefore, or by implication, does not profit on the outcomes of these microfinancing endeavours. The vision of the organization is the improved status of the non-religious or the secular or the non-religious around the world.

In Nigeria, for Bala, religious law, in particular Sharia law, as interpreted there, is a significantly bad item in country for the secular. For speaking openly or using his constitutional right to freedom of expression, Bala has received numerous death threats because of the opinions have been deemed too heretical.

Bala, as many of non-theists have experienced, were either bullied into leaving a job or outright fired from a position due to a politically and socially motivated religious fundamentalist with an intense xenophobia, bigotry, and prejudice against the secular individual.

This raises questions about the survivability and long-term economic viability of the life for Bala. There is a project by Humanists Global or Brighter Brains Institute (BBI) to help those like Bala in supporting themselves as entrepreneurs in various African countries.

Humanists Global’s Director, Hank Pellissier, is an activist who founded the “the world first atheist film festival” in 2009. Pellissier created the atheist calendar in 2010, then moved onto founding BBI in 2013. Then he founded the “world’s first atheist orphanage” in 2015.

According to Humanists Global or BBI, “$300 is enough to buy a sewing machine, fruit juicer, used motorcycle, ten milk goats, washing machine, kerosene tank, corn grinder, fifty chickens, popcorn machine, or dozens of other items for new business ventures in Africa. Humanist.Global / BBI has provided funds for 77 small projects. The majority go to women’s collectives. “

The Buhanga Thuligahuma Women’s Group in Uganda received$300 to found Bio-Briquette Business. Bala founded Kaduna Fries, a street stall. Humanists Global intends to help atheists marginalized and persecuted for beliefs and wants to assist in the expansion of the membership of the organizations, too.

For U.S. citizens, there is a tax deductible receipt for donations, and for Canadians, there are a letter of appreciation, a photo, and then periodic updates on the progress of the initiative.


For more information, email


Bala, M. (n.d.). Humanists Global Oath. Retrieved from

Humanists Global/Brighter Brains Institute. (2019). Business Projects. Retrieved from

Humanists Global/Brighter Brains Institute. (2019). Humanists Global/Brighter Brains Institute. Retrieved from

Istvan, Z. (2015, February 24). ​The World’s First Atheist Orphanage Has Launched a Crowdfunding Campaign. Retrieved from

Kiva. (2008, August 28). Kiva Lending Team: (A+) Atheists, Agnostics, Skeptics, Freethinkers, Secular Humanists and the Non-Religious. Retrieved from

San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center. (2009, June 28). Atheist Film Festival. Retrieved from

The Nigerian Humanist Association. (2019). The Nigerian Humanist Association. Retrieved from


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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