November 2020 – In 2014 the radical Islamic group Boko Haram kidnapped two hundred and seventy-six mostly Christian girls from a school in Chibok, Nigeria. Since then, Joel has experienced more than just losing his sister to that now-infamous kidnapping. She is still missing. Things just keep getting worse.
From left to right: Joel’s sister and Joel’s burned down shop.
Today, Joel is fighting for his life – in every way one can imagine. He has a plan for a better life…he just needs a little help. Even some of his friends have joined Boko Haram, and he is now on a “kill list” simply because he doesn’t believe as they do. Joel has lost loved ones most recently to an attack on a local farming village in Zabarmari, Borno, where at least forty-five rice farmers were slaughtered. His shop and properties have been burnt to the ground.
He has just recovered from malaria. His livelihood destroyed and his loved ones systematically either being killed or disappearing, Joel presses on. Joel has contacts who can help him start a new life as the teacher and activist he has been. All that stands in his way is funding. With your help, he can escape the daily threats against his very breath and livelihood, and perhaps find himself in a more stable place where he might finally find his sister and begin to live an authentic life without fear.
Please give to help us help Joel.
We have an exciting update on our friend, Joel.
February 2021 – Thanks to help from all of you, Joel has escaped what was surely a life or death situation, where he had little hope for safety or for any kind of economic prosperity. After his sister was kidnapped by Boko Haram and his provision store was burned to the ground, it was clear he could not remain where he was. A local village had been sacked by insurgents who massacred over forty farmers. Joel knew his name was on a kill list. Religious extremists had a stranglehold on Joel’s life, and he reached out to IAA in desperation.
All he wanted was to have the means to escape the thumb of religious violence and oppression, and to have the resources to restart his life in such a way that he could be self-sufficient. Our community rallied in response, eager to help. We have helped him relocate to a place where he feels safe, and have given him what he needed to actually open a new provisions store, which he feels will help maintain him as he starts his new life. His appreciation is hard to convey. Suffice it to say, those of you who gave of yourselves to help him have likely saved him from the death sentence of apostasy and the suffering of economic ruin.
We cannot express how much you all have helped make a difference for Joel. He has faithfully sent us updates with pictures and letters of profound gratitude throughout the process – not just for us who work behind the scenes at IAA, but for all those strangers who donated their time, money, and influence to make what seemed a hopeless situation into a new life full of possibilities. Joel has sent us this letter of thanks that we share here now with all of you who donated money or helped in any capacity:
Hello Everyone Out there, I want to use this medium to shout out to the entire TEAM and everyone out there for sacrificing Your Precious TIME and RESOURCES towards lending a helping hand to Humanity and Atheists in Danger.
I come with a great TESTIMONY and My Heart is full of Joy and Happiness because all that happened to Me now is because of IAA and its entire TEAM. You People Touch My Life Positively and I will never forget this Life Saving and My Journey to Freedom, You People gave Me a New Hope and a New Beginning. Out of the fund I got with the help of My New Partner here I was able to settle down and also established a Provision store that will help me sustain life and run things smoothly. Below are the pictures of my establishment and I Dedicate this Provision Store to IAA and HUMANITY.
Stories like Joel’s are what motivate us here at IAA to continue our work. He is only one of countless others – from his home country to yours, whatever country that may be. Their stories are each unique and come with myriad challenges, keeping us on our toes with every request. We receive cries of help from single men and women, women in domestic violence situations, and family units. Most don’t want to ask for much, but their circumstances leave them with what feels like little hope. We take the reins in vetting each request, considering each circumstance and weighing options, working with other organizations with the right resources to meet various needs, and executing a plan tailored to each individual. Then we reach out for help, too.
If not for our donors and volunteers, we could not have helped Joel find hope in a new start. We would not be able to help others who are right now waiting for the hand they need to escape violence, threats, intimidation, and hopelessness. Our donors are the crown at the head of every IAA achievement, and Joel is eternally grateful. You all have inspired him to carry the torch and live his life authentically, vowing to pay it forward in every way he can. We at IAA are so proud and grateful to all of you who took a chance and helped us help this delightful young man get a truly fresh start – one with the kind of potential he felt he could never have.
Our Sponsorship page highlights our current cases, offering you as a donor the option of choosing an atheist at risk and helping them with monthly gifts. Please take a moment to have a look. Each story comes with unique challenges that we give individualized attention to.
A special thank you to Seth Andrews – host of The Thinking Atheist podcast – and his fantastic listeners, who made this heartwarming outcome possible. Seth answered the call and forwarded it to all of you. Check out his work at thethinkingatheist.com
We couldn’t have done it without you!