Supporting the Sanctuaries for Outcasts in Ghana

The Plan

Simon and Evelyn Ngota have been working with women accused of witchcraft in Gambaga since 18 years. Throughout this time more than 500 women were resettled or reunited with their families once their safety and well-being was  assured. The living conditions of the remaining women in Gambaga had improved.

Now they want to focus on the neglected but more free sanctuaries around Gushiegu, Nabuli and Kpatinga. 200 women accused of witchcraft live in these settlements. The living conditions are to be improved through their guidance, advise and assistance in any way.

Continuous visits and Education about hygiene, gardening, soap-production and poultry keeping create trust and boost self-confidence within the camps.

None of the women can read nor write, general discrimination of women in Northern Ghana hampers attempts to start small-businesses. With guidance and training they develop their abilities and make their living together and in solidarity. Especially at Gushiegu the women have the option to question witchcraft accusations and perceptions collectively.

Prejudice erodes as soon as local people see no harm is done from eating, talking, working, living with the women accused of witchcraft. Permanent present sparks discussions about truth, tradition and science. People learn about the real circumstances of an accusation and about the character of violence perpetrated against women.

The projects budget is actually 430 Euro (around 900 GhC)  a month, used as follows: 190 EUR is a low salary for two. 45 EUR are added for transportation and communication expenses and 265 EUR go to the most urgent healthcare cases at the camps. (For further calculation: 1 EUR is 2,1 GhC is 1,4 USD is 0,85 BP – As all Donations are  in Euro so far, this is the base currency).

For any further funding we designed a plan by stages.

Donations go to these steps in the following order:

1. Saws and Axes – to ease and improve firewood-production. Large numbers of wood remain unused or burnt because it is to heavy or solid to carry it. (100 EUR/90 BP/ 140 USD)

2. Create a granary to store food for draughts or crop-failures and to help those who are most malnutred. (200 EUR/175 BP/280 USD)

3. Plastic canisters and wheelbarrows to alleviate water transport and storage. (200 EUR/175 BP/280USD)

4. A Budget for upcoming problems regarding Nutrition and Health especially with new arrivals and very old ladies. (100 EUR/ 90 BP/ 140 USD per month)

5. Enrolling children living in the camps at school. (100 EUR/90BP/140USD per month)

6. Increasing the salaries to 200 EUR per month for the director team and 160 for the Assistant and increasing the budget for transportation. (80 EUR per month)

7. Compost toilets for Gushiegu camp. (1000 EUR/900 BP/1400 USD)

8. Sponsoring small-income-generation. (100 Euro per month)

9. Depending on further donations: negotiating land for the sanctuaries and expanding our activities to the remaining 2000 witch-hunt victims at Gambaga, Bonyanse, Tindang, Kukuo and Gbintiri. Sharing experience with similar camps in Burkina Faso. Employing a second assistant.

We aim to have a project consisting of a staff of one director team (Simon and Evelyn Ngota) who share a salary of 500 GhC (250 EUR), one female social worker skilled with womens rights and office work (200 EUR) and one further assistant (150 EUR). This is alltogether 600 EUR per month. Running expenses for transportation, relief, school, nutrition, health, small-business sum up to 400 EUR per month.

With just 1000 EUR per month we can make our project run well and assist 200 elderly women and 15 children in the best way.

With our 430 EUR per month we now already avoid diseases, malnutrition and isolation.

With any earmarked funds of any amount we can buy items as listed above or suggested by the donor.

Why we depend on private donors:

After more than 20 time-consuming, exhausting proposals at some major organisations we came to the conclusion that this time was wasted. It might easily be that witch-hunts are a problem far to complex for the commercials of large-scale organisations or that these are not yet ready to cooperate with a genuine Ghanaian project. Modern development aid is a business – projects are sold and advertized like commodities. We really want to focus on our work and hope to find enough individual donors who show affection, understanding and real interest in an actual problem haunting Africa and large parts of the world. If an organisation is interested in funding us, we are glad for any personal contact guiding us and we will assist any visit.

Our efforts from 18 years of work with witch-hunt victims are huge: Years ago the asylums were perceived as “prisons” where “witches” suffer their “just punishment”. Nowadays accusers and people with resentments are questioned in their prejudice if they see that people all over the world sympathize with women accused of witchcraft and that we work, eat and live together with them without being harmed at all. The women are destigmatized and they experience the solidarity as salubrious.

We guarantee that we will discuss any setback in public to prevent them in future. The “Witch-hunt Victims Empowerment Project together with the German association “Hilfe für Hexenjagdflüchlinge” (Help for Witch-hunt Victims) will be, with your kind support, be a pilot-project for tackling witch-hunts throughout Africa.

2 responses

  1. Frank Ide

    Thank you for your efforts to raise the awareness of the plight of these women. I am an American man who has visited Nabuli on two occasions within the last few years and share your organization’s passion to help these women, while enlightening the men of this and surrounding villages. We support a few local Christian missionaries who teach the value of women and importance of education. Last year, with the help of our local friends, I prepared cards showing photos of 50 or so women and outlining their stories of accusation. I can share these cards if you feel they would be helpful.

    Frank Ide
    Spokane, Washington USA

    15. August 2011 at 05:02

  2. Dear Frank, its good to hear from other people who feel obliged to these women. I would be glad to know more about any of them. Can you send me an email? Use Felix_Riedel[[@]]web.de

    19. August 2011 at 20:32

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