Annual Report for 2018

2018 was Brighter Brains Institute’s fifth year of operations, and its most successful in multiple categories. We expanded into seven additional nations (Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria, Morocco, Haiti, Kenya, Peru); we formed strong new partnerships with Center for Inquiry, Atheists Alliance International, and THE FREETHINKER magazine; we launched four ‘name brand’ sustainability projects (Brighter Brains Peanut Farm, Brighter Brains Catering Company, and Brighter Brains Tailoring Company – all in Uganda, and Brighter Brains Chicken Farm in Nigeria); and most importantly, we built Brighter Brains Humanist Secondary School in Kanungu, Uganda, featuring “Richard Dawkins Science Laboratory” and “Christopher Hitchens Freethinker Library.” This was all accomplished with $80,000 in donations; BBI’s second-biggest revenue year. 

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Here’s a list of other accomplishments:

CRITICAL THINKING - 2018 began with BBI producing 40 ‘CT’ workshops in Africa and The Philippines. A comprehensive report is HERE.  The workshops were most subversively presented in Islamic, sharia law northern Nigeria, in classrooms with veiled girls. Everywhere, the CT workshops urged participants to challenge superstitions about albinos, female genital mutilation, sorcery practices (including child sacrifice), and religion itself. The entrepreneur workshops were also offered by BBI, to sharpen our recipient’s business skills. 

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SUSTAINABILITY PROJECTS – BBI continued its support of humanist business groups, especially women’s collectives, by offering small grants of $300-$500 to launch sustainability projects. A partial list of our endeavors includes: Buhanga Basket Project, Pearl College Handicrafts Fund, Pineapple Shop for Ruti Women Roadside Vendors, Pig Farms for BiZoHa Women’s Empowerment Centre and Act for the Poor Women’s Association, Microfinancing for Bugaari-Rwanika Progressive Women, Kiragiro Women Chicken Project, Nigeria Refugee Women Noodle Factory, Tea Shop for Joy Women Group, Sewing Machines for Zagora Women’s Collective in Morocco, Millet Grinder for Nyakiyumbu Widows, Aloe Vera Farm for Katumba Humanists, Garlic Farm for Kanungu Humanists, Banana Juice Factory for Katumba Humanists, Ecstacy Computer Store for Nyakiyumbu Widows, Smoked Fish Store for Sister Sisters Collective in Ghana, Vanilla Bean Farm for Pearl College, Soap-Making Workshop for Almajiri boys in Nigeria, Potato Farm for Kanungu Humanists, Duck Farm for Kiragiro Women’s Group, and Mushroom Farm for Katumba Humanists. 

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ORPHANS – BBI maintained its tradition of assisting orphans in 2018, by providing services in four different nations. In the three Kasese, Uganda, humanist schools we built in 2015-2016, we continued to provide Full Board tuition-free scholarships to 41 orphans. In Mbarara, we aided Bright Futures Orphanage with funds for a water tank and a newly-built kitchen. In Kaduna, Nigeria, our representative Abdulrahman Aliyu delivered blankets to orphans at Adonai Children’s Home. In Haiti, we provided food to Maitre Ancelhomme’s Orphanage in Kenscoff; and – last but not least – BBI now provides $420 in food money, every month, to 29 orphans at Humanist Orphan Center Kenya.

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REFUGEE RELIEF – At the Al-Amin Dagash IDP Camp in Maiduguri, Nigeria, BBI provided humanitarian assistance to 90 households, via aid delivered by Sadiq Modu Kura. We provided food, barrels for water containment, blankets, tarpaulins to keep the porous thatch huts dry inside, and toilets to prevent cholera and dysentery.

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MEDICAL SERVICES – BBI maintained its clinics in the Kasese and Kanunga humanist schools, and we delivered measles vaccination medicine to Buhanga, Uganda. We also helped an Almajiri boy – Zubairu – acquire two prosthetic hands. (He lost his original hands when the director of the Islamic center tied them tightly behind his back, cutting off his circulation, resulting in gangrene. BBI also provided a steady stream of condoms and AFRIpads (below) to multiple humanist communities.  

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HUMANIST ACTIVISM – BBI released a 148-page e-book in 2018 titled Why We Left Religion – Testimonies by Ex-Believers. The e-book was given away to anyone interested; it was especially popular at the Abuja Humanist Convention in Nigeria. BBI gave funds to Moroccan feminist/activist Ibtissame Lachgar, who organizes demonstrations for women’s equality, secular rights, and LGBT acceptance. In Nigeria, BBI funded humanist activities of Leo Igwe and Mubarak Bala. In Peru, we sponsored a presentation called “Does God Exist?” at the National University of San Marcos. We also supported humanist actions in Myanmar and The Philippines.

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HUMANIST SCHOLARSHIPS & TEACHER SUPPORT – BBI paid the entire year’s tuition for two humanist students at Mbarara University of Science and Technology: Emmanuel Sseregundo and Namanda Fatumah. Both are graduates of Kasese Humanist Primary School and Sir Isaac Newton Humanist Secondary School. BBI also provided tuition funds to two graduates of Mother Givers Humanist Primary School School in Buhanga. Mumbere Samson and Ngoma Janet will be able to attend, respectively, Bright Academy and Mt. Ruwenzori Girls Secondary School.  Finally, BBI continued its support for the hard-working teachers at our humanist schools by providing supplemental income to their salaries. 

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TECHNOLOGY – BBI sent 20 solar powered chargers to Kenscoff, Haiti, to be used by students who were previously forced to study by candlelight in this nation where 71% of households lack electricity. We also provided numerous sewing machines, grinders, juicers, and tools to aspiring entrepreneurs.

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OUR GOALS FOR 2019

  • Increase enrollment at our new secondary school, and fully equip the Christopher Hitchens Freethinker Library and Richard Dawkins Science Laboratory with exciting humanist books and supplies. 

  • Improve the sustainability of our humanist communities in Kasese, Buhanga, Nyakiyumbu, and Kanungu, by economically empowering the women’s collectives.

  • Launch a “Brighter Brains Humanist Sanitary Pad Factory” in Kasese with our new partners, the African Women’s Dignity Foundation.

  • Expand our humanist scholarship program by providing assistance to members of the Makerere Freethinkers Club.

  • Continue our funding of Humanist Orphan Center Kenya and provide the 29 children there with playground equipment.

  • Expand our activities to Pakistan and Bangladesh, to provide support, guidance, and safety to ‘closeted’ atheists who live in fear of persecution. 

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