End Human Rights Abuses Against Alleged Witches

by Songtaba
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End Human Rights Abuses Against Alleged Witches
End Human Rights Abuses Against Alleged Witches
End Human Rights Abuses Against Alleged Witches
End Human Rights Abuses Against Alleged Witches
End Human Rights Abuses Against Alleged Witches
End Human Rights Abuses Against Alleged Witches
End Human Rights Abuses Against Alleged Witches
End Human Rights Abuses Against Alleged Witches
End Human Rights Abuses Against Alleged Witches
End Human Rights Abuses Against Alleged Witches
End Human Rights Abuses Against Alleged Witches

Dear readers!

It’s been very interesting this quarter as SONGTABA brings to cherished donors a worm greeting from Northern Region of Ghana where Songtaba is implementing End Human Rights Abuses against Alleged Witches Project. In the Post Covid-19 era Songtaba begun to explore the relationship between witchcraft accusation and mental health. What is the state of mind are these women living in especially as the camps are in very deplorable conditions. Songtaba commissioned a study to investigate. The study revealed that 53% of the women accused of witchcraft and living in the camps suffer depression and a results will require some psycho-social support.

Also their quality of life was also measure using the World Health Organisation standard which revealed very poor living condition where not a single woman in the camp had an improved quality of life. In this regard over 90% of the women indicated they wanted to be reintegrated back to their home communities or communities where they can be safe. Based on this report the team begun our visits to the camps during the period under review starting with the kukuo camp profile women who were ready and willing to be reintegrated back to their home communities. Currently, we have profile two of these women at the kukuo camp who express interest in reintegrating back to their home communities. One of the women by name Hasia who is 68 years from Waribugu community and has stayed at the kukuo camp for the past three years narrates how life confronts her in the camp which has necessitated her to opt for reintegration.

What really got me to the kukuo camp was as a result of the death of someone son for which I don’t have any knowledge but I was the very suspected and I was accused. The moment I was accused, the youth did nor even give me choice to explain myelf but I was instantly sent out of the community.I still my home and I want to go back

The camp has been like a bondage for me for the past three years due to the absence of certain basic social facilities such as water, food, clothing and health care. Sometime I have to relied on the benevolence of other people for survival and to a large extend very difficult in getting at least my two square meals a day. Not only has these things impacted my life but my inability to re-unite with my family is what I missed for very long time. I felt there have taking away one of the precious rights away from me each time I look back and what am going through.

I will be very happy when am reintegrated because it will offer me an opportunity to farm and also do petty trading to support myself. When I was at home, I use to farm crops such as groundnuts, maize and soy beans which I wish to continue. When I am at home my children can give me decent health care needs and other basic needs?

I thank Songtaba and their supporters for the good works they have done in the past reintegrating other women. I have heard their stories and it is one of the motivating factors for me also to go home. Hasia Narrates!

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Dear Cherished Donor!

Season Greetings from Songtaba

It has been another interesting quarter and SONGTABA brings to it cherish donors update on our project to End violence Against Persons Accused of Witchcraft. During this quarter under review SONGTABA would like to share with readers some of its mile stone achievement over the quarter on Kalari, a reintegrated woman from the Kukuo camp.

Kalari, 92 years from Nakpali in the Zubzugu district of Northern part of Ghana who has been staying in the kukuo alleged witches camp for the past 27 years. She was accused by her son on the account that he saw the mother in his dream after she gave him groundnut to farm. This dream was interpreted to mean a threat to the boy’s life and so the  entire community members accused her for attempting to kill an innocent young boy. After several harassments, She had to run for her dear life and sought refuge at the kukuo alleged witches camp where she stayed until her reintegration in January 2022. The entire process which started in the last two quarters of 2021 saw Songtaba holding several dialogue meetings with family and community opinion leaders to reconsider their decision to accept the woman back because she is very old now and needs more family love and support than the dehumanizing conditions that she is living in.

She shares her experience at the camp: To day I am a very happy woman because I will be leaving this death trap I call a room at the cam. When it rains, I don’t sleep until the rain stop. I will also have enough time to rest because am very weak and can’t venture in to any profitable venture to earn an income for my livelihood. What really makes me happy about my reintegration is my grandchildren both old and young who I miss so much and I can’t wait to see them. In fact, feeding was very difficult for me because I could not make all three-square meals a day but all the suffering that I have gone through for the past 27 years will soon get a relief at home.

For me no body deserve to be here considering what we go through at the camp from scarcity of water, feeding, housing and even issues with our health. I hope and pray that, every woman will have an opportunity to be reintegrated.

I want to thank SONGTABA and their donors for facilitating my reintegration back to family, am most gratefully.

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Arishetu in front of her room at the camp
Arishetu in front of her room at the camp

Dear  Sponsors!

Songtaba brings you warm greetings from Ghana and excited to bring you update on our programme on ending violence against perosns accused of witchcraft. In our last report, Songtaba reported on the progress made with regards to profiling of some women living at alleged witches camp to be re-integrated after several years of living these camps.

Arishetu is one of the women who lived in the Kukuo alleged witches camp for 12 years. her story like many other women in the camp has being a very sad one where she was accused of being a witches and thus leading to the community rejecting her.

arriving at the Kukuo camp was like a safe haeven where she felt welcomed by other women who have suffred similar faith. eventhough welcomed to the Kukuo camp but she was not happy Arishetu narrated. 

when Songtaba started this re-integration programme, I really wanted to go but was still afraid of the stigma or possible reaccusation but  I had to gather the courage to get my name profiled for the next batch of re-integration. Songtaba gave assurance of the fact that before any re-integration a lot of dialgue will take place among key stakeholders for some consensus reached and be assured of the woman's safety before sending her home. That is how come I joined the re-integration- Arishetu further narrates

with the support of Arishetu's son whom Songtaba re-integration team establish contact with to start the engagement meetings for the re-integration, held a meeting to firts of all identify a safe community to re-integrate his mother to and to arrange accomodation.

after the successful enagement of key family members of Arishetu and finally reaching a consensu with them to accept her back home and making all necessary accomadtion arrangements in Tamale, attention was now turn to the camp to engage the chief priest on the logistcal arrangements for the rituals to be completed to release her to go home.

All the necessary ritual were completed and Arishetu was now free to go home after living in the Kukuo alleged witches camp for 12 years. Our next report will focus on her life after re-integration

Arishetu friends bid her farewell
Arishetu friends bid her farewell
Arishetu packing her stuff to leave camp
Arishetu packing her stuff to leave camp
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Dear Cherished donors!

It is yet another interesting period of the year where we bring you update on our work on ending violence against persons accused of witchcraft that has been made possible through your generous donations.

During this quarter, Songtaba visited the Kukuo alleged witches camp located in the Nanumba South district of the northern region to interact with the women at the camp and also profile women for the next batch of reintegration under our ongoing reintegration programme.

It is important to report that there is a significant reduction in the number of women who are accused and banished to the Kukuo camp compared to previous years where women were frequently accused and sent to the camp accounting for high numbers in the camps. Before the reintegration programme, number of accused women at the Kukuo camp was over 80 and current numbers of accused women at the camp stands at 40. through many sensitisation platform including radio and television, the general public have been sensitise on the dangers associated with the violation of women's rights and how this practice has negative affected the development of the region due to the over reliance on superstition

A total of 5 women have been profiled to be reintegrated back to their home communities where discussions have started with key stakeholders to ensure the process is done smoothly without any difficulties. In the coming days, all necessary rituals shall be performed to prepare the women for reintegration.

 Songtaba shall monitor closely on each of these women and report on their progress during and after their reintegration.

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Dear Reader,

It is another exciting moment at Songtaba as we bring to you updates on our work on ending violence against persons accused of witchcraft. 

Every year between 25th November to 10th December, human rights organisations and individuals across the globe engage in serious advocacy to champion the end to all forms of violence including gender based violence. This year Songtaba as a women and child rights organisation joined the rest of the world to mark the 16 days of activism highlighting the wide spread of witchcraft accusation in the northern part of Ghana.

As part of the activities to mark this year's 16 days of activism, Songtaba organised visits to the alleged witches camps with the media to interveiw some of the women telling their stories for publication. The intention was to showcase these stories as compelling evidence for key stakeholder including government to speed up process to disband these camps.

beyond this community level actions, Songtaba also organised a national level key stakeholder dialogue to discuss the roadmap to ending this age long phenomenon. The national dialogue had both state institutions  and civil society orgnaisations participating and making significant contributions to put an end to this phenomenon. 

on a recently case were a 90 years old women was accused of being a witch and eventually lynched, Songtaba was the first organisation through a press conference to call for the arrest of the perpetrators of this crime. Some arrest was indeed made and subsequently grabted bail but arranged to court. Songtaba is still monitoing the case to ensure that the famility of this old women gets justice and also to serve as a lesson to prevent other future occurrences.

 The journey has been a very difficult one but it is important to indicate that some positive progress has been made. There appear to be a rudction in the frenquent occurence of the accusations and the also there has been a significant number of the women that have been re-integrated.

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Organization Information

Songtaba

Location: Bimbila - Ghana
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @songtabango
Project Leader:
Lamnatu Adam
Bimbila, Ghana
$21,574 raised of $25,000 goal
 
378 donations
$3,426 to go
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