You probably don't live in fear of being branded a witch. Chances are, you think of witchcraft accusations as a thing of the past – best remembered as a dark period in the history of seventeenth-century Salem. Still, you can imagine what it would be like to be blamed for a neighbor's miscarriage, a child's illness, or a bad harvest – to be forced to flee with nothing but what you can carry to a desolate camp for other exiles like you.
This is exactly what happened to Mumuni Damata, a woman living in the Northern Region of Ghana. Many years ago, Mumuni was banished to a camp with others accused of witchcraft. Although Mumuni was relatively young when she was banished, many of the women in the camp are elderly and have no choice but to farm and fetch water well into their 80s.
Dangerous superstitions thrive where people lack access to education, healthcare, and jobs. In Northern Ghana poverty and illiteracy rates are above 75% — 2 to 3 times the national average.
That's why Foundation Beyond Belief's Humanist Action: Ghana (HA: Ghana) program is working with grassroots organizations in Northern Ghana to combat the complex issues that lead to witchcraft accusations. Our American and Ghanaian volunteers are helping to:
improve living conditions for rural Ghanaians, including those accused of witchcraft;
provide greater access to healthcare, education, and a stable livelihood;
and empower youth to become effective human rights advocates.
HA: Ghana volunteers have already helped Mumuni and more than a dozen other women return to their homes and families from a camp in the village of Kukuo, but hundreds of more women remain in this and other camps.
With so much attention turned inward to the very real concerns facing the United States, the needs of people across the globe are getting less and less attention. But the problems in Northern Ghana are no less severe, and we need your help.
Foundation Beyond Belief must raise at least $15,000 in the month of April to continue this important work in 2017-2018. Please make your gift today to help women like Mumuni. For the latest on the HA: Ghana, follow them on Facebook and Twitter.
Photo: Mumuni Damata, a woman who we helped return to her family from the Kukuo sanctuary for alleged witches, sells food to schoolchildren on their lunch break. HA: Ghana volunteers helped Mumuni begin this business as part of her transition out of the camp. Her business is now thriving, as are her relationships with her family and within the village.