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  • Courtney Heard

Their Lives Are In Immediate Danger - Here's How We Help Them


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You’ve likely seen our colourful fundraisers for orphans and school children in the developing world. You’ve seen the heartwarming photos of kids benefiting directly from your donations and volunteerism. These sorts of campaigns are a lot easier for us to promote and find success with. Big grins on kids’ faces are eye-catching and moving, but at IAA, we do more than spread secular education in the developing world. Our two primary initiatives are secular education and rescuing atheists in danger. While our secular education campaigns are frequent, our atheist rescue program, Secular Underground Network (SUN), is constant. It never stops. I mean 24 hours, 7 days per week, there is someone on the SUN team working with atheists in danger.


This is also the most expensive program to run. Helping people flee dangerous situations can become quite costly, even in the developing world. Lawyers, application fees, transportation, accommodation, and food all add up. With 40+ cases in our database, you can begin to see just how much money we need to effectively help atheists in danger.


The problem, however, is that we can rarely identify our cases or key details of their stories. So, we can’t make our fundraisers for atheists in danger as successful as the fundraisers for bright, smiling children with a promising future. We can’t show you our case’s face, or tell you who beat him for being an atheist. We can’t show you the horrible photos of decapitated bodies or bruised and bloodied arms and legs. We can’t mention who is after them, where they need to flee and where they are headed to. We can’t tell you about their kids who also live in fear of the same things their parents do. We can’t show you their new homes once they get to safety, or share selfies of them beaming on the plane as they leave the danger behind once and for all.


All we can tell you, is that they are in danger and without your generosity, we simply cannot help them. All we can do is give you shadows of their stories with names and dates and locations changed, so they don’t face any more danger than they have already. Read what these brave men and women have been through and please consider giving so we can help them.


Amira


Amira is an American citizen and that is not her real name. She contacted us after having fled her home state. Her family had threatened to kill her when they found out she is an atheist. When we first spoke with her, she’d put several states in between her and her family, but she had no place to live. She was fearful that her parents still had access to her phone and her bank account. Having grown up in a fundamentalist Muslim household, Amira had been sheltered. She was not allowed to leave the home without a male from her household. She had no skills, no understanding of basic real-life situations like finding a job, renting an apartment, or even ordering food and taking an Uber. Within days of her contacting us, we had a place for her to stay. We helped her get a new phone, a new bank account and we even connected her with a humanist mentor in her new state so she could learn the everyday skills we all take for granted. We absolutely could not have done this without your direct support.



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Melanie


Melanie is another case from the US. She got in touch with our SUN team when she decided to leave her Christian Fundamentalist parents. The thing is, Melanie was an adult with a child. She’d been sheltered her whole life, not permitted to pick up any work skills along the way and she was told repeatedly that her only worth would come from her husband. She was not allowed to move out until she was married and at all times, must be obedient to whomever had authority over her at the time. As she grew up, that meant her parents. When she married, she had to submit to the authority of her husband. However, the marriage didn’t last and when her and her spouse split after having a special needs child, she was expected to return home to live under the authority of her parents again. They were disappointed in her because her marriage had failed and made her and her special needs son live in the back area of their shop. The room had bare concrete walls, mould and exposed pipes and was not a place you would expect anyone would be living in, let alone a mother and a child with special needs. In return for the place to live, she had to run the family store. She did not get paid for this. So, when she decided she’d had enough and wanted to flee, she had no money to do so. We helped her with some money and we put her wishlist out there to you guys and you bought her furniture and other items she needed to start all over again from scratch. We were only able to do this thanks to your support.


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Liyana


Liyana is a young atheist woman who lived in a Muslim country fled as her family got closer to finding a husband for her. They do not know she is an atheist and she cannot tell them as they are devout Muslims. She knew they would pick a very religious person for her to marry and this would end her career. Her life will be one of staying at home and serving her husband. She left her country and traveled to the first place where she could apply for refugee status. She was denied and is now stuck in a country hit hard with Covid and she cannot work. IAA pays for rent and other living expenses along with helping apply to universities where she can further her studies. We are only able to do this with your support.


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Fahad


Fahad was attacked by religious extremists in his home country when they discovered he was debating beliefs with friends. The attack was so bad that he cannot walk and has required medical care since, even going so far as to travel to Thailand with his mother to get a second opinion. Fahad has since fled the country where he grew up out of fear that worse could happen. He’s in a safer place but is unable to work due to the severe nerve damage he suffered in the attack, and can not get the treatment he needs. IAA would like to support him while he continues with physical therapy and tries to find work that is suitable for his condition. We cannot do this without your support.


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Our first goal is $1000 which will cover our secure database bill as well as one month of expenses for our most urgent case.


Our second goal is $3000 and that will cover the above as well as a couple of months of living expenses for our second most urgent case.


Our final goal is $5000 which will cover two months of living and medical expenses for our top priority cases, as well as travel for one and the cost of our secure database for one year.


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