Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Saving Africa's Witch Children

Channel 4 Dispatches aired a programme today about the belief in Niger Delta which says that some children are witches.  Sudden deaths, poor harvests and other ailments are often blamed on small children, who are then abused, abandoned and even killed by their families and communities.  Once a child is stigmatised it is often very difficult for them to be accepted back into their communities.  The documentary is focused on the situation in Akwa Ibom where the Child Rights and Rehabilitation Network has the only rescue centre for abandoned children in the area.  Gary Foxton is an englishman who with his charity Stepping Stones Nigeria helps to fund the rescue centre.  He is a regular visitor to the area even though it is very dangerous westerners to go to.  The programme comes to an end with Gary taking the children from the rescue centre to lobby government.  He wants Akwa Ibom to enforce a law which is enacted elsewhere in Nigeria which makes the abuse of children illegal.  

This documentary has really inspired me.  I hope that once I graduate and have made a bit of money I will be able to travel to Africa to work with charities that help disadvantaged communities like the 'witch children'.  I would love to be able to use drama in these situations to help children just have fun and be able to be educated so that they have a brighter future than previous generations!

If you have 4OD I definitely recommend watching the documentary if you haven't seen it already!