07 July 2009

Rumor Has It: Nikhil Fernandes

Welcome to our new spotlight segment "Rumor Has It" where Skeptilove posts about generous individuals we hear about through the grapevine.

Nikhil Fernandes came to our attention for his work with Habitat for Humanity.

We asked him about his work, and this is what he told us:

I volunteered for Habitat for Humanity through my college for three years (including two years as a group leader). I did four week-long alternative break trips with Habitat, and one week with a college group doing Katrina relief work. We also worked on a local site near the college, and organized fundraisers for the local affiliate. The picture I'm attaching is from a trip to Scott County, Tennessee, where we built a house for a family with three children. The work involved assembling and raising the walls, putting the framework for the roof on, and laying out the roofing sheets.

Props to Nikhil for his dedication to building homes for impoverished families!


  1. How does Nikhil reconcile being a non-believer with the fact that Habitat for Humanity is a Christian ministry? I love what Habitat for Humanity does, but for me the good feeling of volunteering is tainted by the knowledge that Bibles are presented to new Habitat homeowners at their house dedications. It makes it hard for me to volunteer with Habitat knowing that helping people in need comes with the price of spreading God's word. I've wished many times that there were a secular equivalent of Habitat for Humanity. http://www.habitat.org/how/christian.aspx

  2. Regardless of how the organiation was founded or what its religious background is, they're doing good, solid work, and their "open door" policy as illustrated in the document you linked is enough for me to give them my support (I've donated goods to them over the years.)

    Bottom line is: get the work done, and put minor theological and philosophical differences behind. Should a group of non-believers get together and build houses for people at no cost, they'll have my support too.

    Thank you, Nikhil, for seeing the forest for the trees.

  3. I have no problem reconciling being a non-believer with doing volunteer work for a Christian organization. As far as I'm concerned, the fact that HfH is doing solid work dealing with the homelessness issue far outweighs any problems I have with their religious beliefs. Until I find a secular alternative with the reach and energy of Habitat, I'll continue to volunteer with the one that exists.

  4. My husband was the chairperson last year for our local Habitat for Humanity affiliate. He's still a member of the board. We are both atheists. There are LOTS of volunteers for HH who are not believers.
    The religious aspects are there but they're not emphasized....a lot of "Christian" work is done by non-xians.

  5. Knowing that ignorance and superstition is being spread in the name of charity work is highly disturbing to me.