As part of efforts to redeem the human rights and dignity of alleged witches, ActionAid Ghana (AAG) and its partner Songtaba, both non-governmental organizations on Friday celebrated Mother’s Day with the inmates of the Gnani witches camp.
Members of the NGOs dined and wined with the inmates at Gnani in the Yendi Municipality and also re-roofed 45 leaking huts of the inmates.
There are six witches’ camps in the Northern Region with the Gnani camp having 257 alleged witches and 83 alleged wizards whilst 156 children of school going age, live with them.
Madam Esther Boateng, Northern Regional Programme Manager of ActionAid Ghana said they decided to celebrate the day with the alleged witches’ to continue creating more awareness on the need to reintegrate and disband the camps as promised by the government.
“Mother’s Day is an occasion used to express appreciation, love and best wishes to mothers in recognition of their suffering, pain and sacrifices in ensuring the continuity of humanity…we use the occasion to call for the disbandment of the camps”, she said.
She said her outfit has providing the immediate needs of the inmates such as shelter, food, healthcare, as well as building their awareness and consciousness.
Madam Boateng said AAG was an anti-poverty agency working in 22 communities in Ghana to end poverty through human rights based approach, noting that, in the Northern Region, it works with people living in poverty and the vulnerable to promote, protect and fulfill their rights and dignity.
She said 450 leaked huts of various camps had been rehabilitated between 2007 and 2012, adding that, over 150 hectares of maize were cultivated for their consumption.
Mr. Issah Zakaria, Yendi Municipal District Chief Executive said the District Assembly has been assisting the alleged witches to acquire National Health Insurance Cards and renews them periodically to enable them to access healthcare.
He however told the GNA that he was unaware of any intention by government to disband the camps. He pledged to provide a kindergarten for children in the camps to help in their education.
Mr. Alhassan Shei, the Tindaana of the Gnani Witche’s camp explained that when someone is accused of witchcraft and brought to the camp, rituals would be performed at the shrine to ascertain the allegations and when confirmed, the person would be cured of the witchcraft and would be allowed to return home, adding that, most people refused to return for fear of being lynched.