Mercy was a little girl when she was chosen to become a Trokosi slave. Her grandmother had stolen some beads, and according to the Trokosi practice, Mercy needed to atone for the sins of her family. Mercy was taken from her family to live in a world where she was regularly sexually and physically abused by the fetish priest.
Thankfully, International Needs is working to end the Trokosi practice. After years of suffering, Mercy became one of over 3,500 young women to be freed from slavery. Mercy now works with International Needs, traveling to remote villages in Ghana and helping other girls experience the same freedom she now knows.
Year Ministry Began: 1984
Executive Director: Rev. Walter Pimpong
Since 1984, International Needs has been on the forefront of the fight against the Trokosi practice, a cruel tradition which removes young girls from their families to serve as slaves to the village priest. By negotiating with the priests and pointing out the evils of slavery, IN has seen thousands of young women set free. With the government of Ghana now committed to eliminating the Trokosi practice, International Needs is determined to free every young girl from slavery.
A big part of the Trokosi Freedom effort is what to do with the women and children once they are free. The Vocational Training School at Adidome provides a place for vulnerable women to receive counseling and also to learn the skills that will help them to provide for their families. The children of these women are provided with a Christian education at the International Needs schools in the Volta region of Ghana. These children, born in difficult circumstances, receive the tools to escape poverty and live meaningful lives.
As part of the Trokosi practice, the village priest demands a virgin girl as atonement for a sin allegedly committed by an elder family member. Traditional priests have a powerful voice in the Volta Region of Ghana, and so families are gripped with fear and obey this order, sending their little daughter to the village shrine to become a slave for life. The girls forced into this situation face constant physical and sexual abuse.
We are committed to free every young woman and child from Trokosi slavery. We begin by building relationships with the priests and community leaders. We help them see the damage they are doing in the lives of the young girls and, indeed, the entire village. When the fetish priests grasp how the Trokosi system negatively effects the village, change can begin. When all the children in the village are able to go to school, they learn that slavery is not okay. A new generation of children can grow up in freedom with the skills to stop the Trokosi practice from happening in the future.
We have also partnered with the government of Ghana to end the practice of Trokosi by making it illegal. But even though the law is in place, many rural communities continue to subject young girls to this life-threatening practice, so International Needs' negotiations will continue until every last person is released. Your gift to Trokosi Freedom helps as we work to negotiate freedom for the remaining women and children.
Two-year-old Jacob has a one centimeter hole in his heart, which needs to be corrected surgically. Can you help?
In January 2012, doctors detected a murmur in newborn Jacob's chest. He was being treated for neonatal jaundice at the Korlebu Teaching Hospital in Ghana, and further tests revealed a one centimeter hole between the two upper chambers of his heart.
Initially the doctors at the cardio thoracic unit of the hospital thought the hole could possibly seal with time. More tests carried out recently showed that the condition has not improved and surgery is needed to correct the defect so that little Jacob can live a normal, healthy life.
Jacob is the son of International Needs staff member, Mary, who is Senior Program Officer with the IN Ghana Child Rights Program. She and her husband Duke have four children. Mary and Duke are working hard to bear the cost of half the surgery and we have committed to raise the other half. Jacob has undergone all the preliminary tests and is fit to have the operation. They are hoping to schedule the surgery for January 2014, but it cannot be scheduled until the funds are available.
We need your help to raise the remaining $7,000 for Jacob's surgery. Please, will you give so that Jacob can have this critical surgery in January?
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