Ghana, exorcisms and witch hunts. Stories from Witch Camps

Beliefs regarding supernatural powers and the ability to use them to harm others are extremely widespread in this West African country. Witchcraft in particular, which still today is not considered a superstition but a concrete possibility. The main victims are elderly women, usually widows and without protection. Just point the finger and accuse them of being the cause of an illness, of “bad luck” in business, of all sorts of things. They are often beaten and cases of lynching are not uncommon. For them there is only one choice: to flee and find refuge in isolated and remote villages. We visited four of them and collected testimonies from these women banned from society for committing “invisible crimes”.

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Ghana, the solitude of the mentally ill in wards that were prisons

There are three such structures in the country. A 2012 law, which establishes, among other things, the decentralization of psychiatric services, has significantly reduced the number of patients and the problem of overcrowding. Today the number of beds exceeds the number of patients. However, there are still issues of abandonment and the stigma towards those with mental disorders. This investigation contains some stories of the guests of the oldest hospital (it dates back to 1906 and was in the beginning a prison) and the interview with the executive director of Mental Health Authority who also talks about the principle and reasons for the so-called “decolonizing mental health”.

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“Andolo, the Talented Albino”, an interview with author Nsah Mala

In the African continent, hostility and discrimination against people with albinism are widely spread. In order to celebrate albinos and help overcome stigma, more and more authors have been writing and publishing stories about this issue. Such is the case of “Andolo: the Talented Albino“, a children’s book written by Cameroonian author Nsah Mala. As detailed in the interview by Pina Piccolo of The Dreaming Machine, the author was inspired by the experience of his relatives to tell the engaging story of a child with albinism, with the aim of entertaining and educating his young readers.

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“Vivere in catene”, gli abusi sulle persone con disturbi mentali

Emina Ćerimović di Human Rights Watch racconta a One Global Voice le ricerche condotte in 60 Paesi del mondo sullo “shackling” ossia l’impiego di misure costrittive come l’incatenamento e l’isolamento per “curare” le persone con disabilità psico-sociali. Lo stigma, il pregiudizio e l’assenza di servizi per la salute mentale contribuiscono alla diffusione di queste pratiche disumane. Un cambiamento concreto potrà avvenire solo modificando o implementando le leggi esistenti contro questo abuso, e superando i preconcetti nei confronti di chi soffre di disturbi mentali.

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