This current event post is contributed by Sam and Raquel. What is the media saying about children with special needs? Preview this controversial article and then contribute to the discussion questions posed. Thank you and enjoy!
“The Fate of Children With Special Needs in Northern Ghana”
Posted by: Npong Francis Posted date: March 08, 2013
This article discusses the fate that society in Northern Ghana has chosen for their children born with special needs. Children born with deformities are usually killed shortly after birth because families don’t have the means to give them the extra care they need and many fear stigmatization by others. Surprisingly, the citizens of Ghana agree with this kind of treatment towards children with special needs. A woman from Ghana claimed, “We cannot take care of children with special needs or disabilities so the best option is to do away with such a child at birth.” This woman was a victim of it herself, when her child was killed after he was born limbless.
This issue represents a greater problem with society in Ghana. The article says the people of Ghana call these children born with special needs “spirit children,” since they are considered impure or even evil. There are no records of the deaths of the “spirit children” since no one wants to report them. It is interesting to note that although no one seems to have an issue with the maltreatment of special education children, no one wants to report any cases of such killings either.
Northern Ghana is a poor, rural area that is far less developed than the south and lacks in educational resources. In order to bring about change, there has to be a change in resources, but additionally a change in the attitudes of the people. The society as a whole needs to start looking at children with special needs as real children too. Judging by the comments posted in response to the article, it appears that citizens are in fact moving towards a better Ghana, as one reader posted, “We at Emmanuel’s Dream.Org are raising money to build a school, adaptive therapy center and sports academy for children with disabilities, and to do advocacy to the community about the Gift these children can be.”
- It is important to try to understand the perspective of another culture before passing judgment. What can we do to educate ourselves about this situation and try to see it through the eyes of someone from Ghana?
- If Ghana were to try to rid itself of this practice, what kind of systemic societal changes do you think would be necessary?
- This is an issue that many of us in the United States are not very aware of or have experienced first hand. What do you think we can do as concerned global citizens to help these children without imposing ourselves on Ghanean culture?
- What kind of programs can be used to help children with special needs in Ghana?