Lome, 10 June, 2020 / 5:48 am (ACI Africa).
Members of the Religious Institute of the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB) in the West African nation of Togo are caring for children who, because of being slightly different from others, are accused of witchcraft and risk “deadly consequences.”
The Salesians provide shelter for these children at Don Bosco Center within the region covered by the Catholic Diocese of Kara located in the northern part of the country, offering them “a loving home where they can recover from their physical and emotional wounds.”
At Don Bosco Center in Kara, “Salesian missionaries counter the deeply rooted cultural beliefs that routinely demonize children and blame them for illnesses, deaths and other misfortunes that are more accurately the outcome of overwhelming poverty,” the leadership of SDB has reported.
In a report published June 8 by Mission Newswire, the official news service of the U.S.-based Salesian Missions that supports the Don Bosco Kara project, the Center also provides opportunities to break the cycle of poverty through education and training.
According to a 2017 France24 report on Togo, belief in the reality and power of witchcraft is widespread in the country with “children who are slightly different from the others” bearing the brunt. The differences in question would be physical disability, “mental handicap, hyperactivity or being intellectually gifted.”