“They call me a witch because I used to break plates” but I am not one”
10 year-old John Ezekiel lived with his mother, stepfather and half siblings in a remote community of Cross River state, until the day in 2017, when the church in Ezekiel’s local community labelled him a witch.
Sitting on a chair within the Emergency Accommodation Shelter run by our partner Basic Rights Counsel Initiative, it is hard to believe this small, vulnerable 10- year-old, who nervously bites on his torn down nails, could ever have been accused of being a witch.
But his practice of angry outbursts and breaking plates led to John’s family and community believing that a witch spirit was controlling him. And as is all too often the case, the family - keen to get rid of the witch spirit - involved the local church in a service of deliverance, with the aim of freeing john from the spirit they believed was controlling him.
following the harrowing deliverance experience, the situation at home rapidly escalated. John was subjected to daily, ritual violence until one day, his step father threatened to kill him if he did not leave the house once and for all.
With no other option, the 10 year old fled to the street where he begged for food and slept - without shelter - for several months until brci were informed about him, took him to the emergency accommodation shelter and provided him with emotional and psychological support, where they also financed his education. Once under the care of BRCI john was able to explain to his counsellor that his plate breaking behaviour had been the result of a deep-rooted anger and frustration, triggered by the mal-treatment, neglect and abuse that he had been receiving from his step father.
“They didn’t give me food to eat, and when my mum did, my stepfather would kick the food.”
He is just one of the xx children whom have benefitted from the practical care and emotional support that the Emergency Accommodation has provided since it opened its door in 2017.
In that time we have delivered an incredible xxxxxx hours of care to xxxxx children. We have also delivered xxxxxx hours of support and xxxxxx wellbeing sessions.
2 years on, the centre has delivered xxxx overnight stays xxxx hours of care and xxxxxx.
To continue supporting our EA for the next 2 years please donate here.