Let's Celebrate Victory For Ghanaian Women (Web 2.0)
Last Saturday was one of the happiest days in my life. I want each and every one fighting for the rights of women to join me to celebrate this memorable day. Why am I so excited? It was this said Saturday that a long battle between some communities and the media, particularly those of us fighting for human right issues came to a successful end in Ghana.
Until that Saturday, children born with disabilities or deformities in about seven communities in the Upper East Region in Ghana were regarded as spirit children or outcasts.
The communities, the Kandiga, Manyoro, Mirigu, Nabango, Natugnia, Sirigu and Yua have been tagged with killing children born with deformities without any remorse.
The battle had been very difficult to overcome due to how the children are killed.
The said children are killed by people described as “concoction men” who pretend to be giving herbs to heal the babies but rather administered poisonous herbs to them with the view that such babies could bring calamities on their families.
No matter how devastated the mothers become, as part of an old-age traditional practice, nobody care to be bothered or pay heed to the plea of those mothers.
The chiefs and the leaders within the seven communities during a grand durbar to end the said negative traditional practice as reported by one of the national newspapers in Ghana, Daily Graphic admitted “We have lived with this practice for many years but it is a joy that we did not remain in this belief but did all we could to bring an end to it. No child should suffer any form of abuse as a result of whatever circumstances he or she is born with.
“The rights of all children should be respected by all. Children who, in one way or another, are already living with deformities should be given the needed care and love by their parents and other people who deal with them.
“We will allow the law to deal with anybody who still goes ahead to engage in the practice,” Naba Amenga-Etego declared.
As part of efforts to stop the practice, the “concoction men” have been mobilized to form an association to provide an avenue for them to be educated and trained on the need to protect the rights of children born with deformities.
Also, Afrikids, a non-governmental organization (NGO) has formed 60 child rights clubs in 60 schools in the project area to contribute to the education of community members on the need to stop the practice.
Additionally, over 400 women have been empowered through micro-financing and awareness raising activities, while regular community activities are held to celebrate and promote child rights.
The Director of Afrikids Ghana, Mr Nicholas Kumah, according to the paper said Afrikids was also involved in the direct rescue and resettlement of the families of over 67 children affected by the spirit-child phenomenon or severe health and disability problems.
“One major achievement is how one child, Paul Apowida, who was accused of being a spirit child and was given infanticide, fought for his life and survived. Today, Apowida is a rifleman in the British Army,” he said.
Now it has been established that if anyone is caught in the act of accusing a child of being a spirit child and administering infanticide to that child, he will be made to face the full rigorous of the law,” he said.