Ghana Prayer Camps - Rui Pires

Ghana Prayer Camps


Ghana has several hundred prayer camps, which are believed to have emerged in the 1920s, although little is known about their history, numbers, or operations since they are not state-regulated. While prayer camps in Ghana often serve as a refuge for people seeking spiritual healing and peace of mind - for example, for people who may have a terminal illness or lost their job – some of these camps place people with mental disabilities in an inhumane and degrading environment.

In Ghana and other countries around the world, it is widely believed that mental disabilities stem from being cursed or possessed by demons, not from a psychiatric condition. With such a view comes the notion that people with mental disabilities such as schizophrenia or depression are sub-human, worthless and violent. That misperception needs to end.

In fact, the World Health Organization estimates that one in four people in the world will be affected by mental health or neurological conditions at some point in their lives.In 2011 and 2012, Human Rights Watch visited eight prayer camps in the Greater Accra, Central, and Eastern Regions, interviewing more than 50 people.Ghana’s 2012 Mental Health Act creates a system through which people with disabilities can challenge their detention in psychiatric hospitals. However, the law does not apply to prayer camps, leaving people with mental disabilities without legal remedies to seek release.

In most prayer camps, people with real or perceived mental disabilities may only leave when the prophet deems them healed.Prayer camps are run by privately-owned Christian religious institutions with roots in the evangelical or Pentecostal denominations. 

The critical issue is the inhumane treatment of people with mental disabilities forced to stay there.

In this photo series we can see various leaders of Ghana´s prayer camps. This leaders are responsible and just help the communities related spiritual issues and health.

Major NGO´s often ask help to this spiritual leaders to help convince Ghana people to go hospitals instead search healing between some fanatic religious leaders from other prayer camps. Ghana people from countryside in case of illness still prefer ask help to sorcerers or religious leaders instead go to a hospital or a health centre.  

Other pictures from different prayer camps where human condition are not respected are available under request in the client area of this website. 

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