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‘Child Witches’ in Ghana


Leo Igwe


Ethical Technology

January 19, 2013

The west African nation of Ghana is rather widely known for its ‘witch camps’, where mainly old women who are accused of occult crimes and subsequently banished from their communities. They seek refuge in these ‘camps’ to avoid being killed by their family and community members. But in the village of Sang, off Tamale-Yendi Road, in the northern region of Ghana there is a care center for vulnerable children.


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COMMENTS



Posted by Guy  on  01/19  at  10:58 PM

Interesting article, thanks for posting. My thoughts are that while this issue on so many levels is tragic, I think we should be careful about approaching it with an assumption of having the moral high ground. While the cultural justification (witchcraft) for abandoning or murdering a disabled or motherless child is clearly absurd, the real reason for such practices becoming socially engrained is not - such children can place high burdens of care on parents and society.The solution to this on a pragmatic level is better healthcare and widely implemented social support systems and infrastructure for the disabled. So I would argue that its might be pointless to attempt to educate against an entrenched religious and cultural disposition without first treating the social effects of poor healthcare. The process of providing bootstrap style technical support so regional Ghanians can develop their own locally suitable healthcare and disability services could be a lot more culturally sensitive than a top-down moral education campaign.

I think this article also leads to an important discussion to be had about the small percentage of cases where babies are born severely disabled with no or little hope of rehabilitation, but perhaps that not so appropriate here as it could be considered more of a first world problem.






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