by John Gershman
A Story of Healing
One of my two favorite places in Ghana are places that reflect a commitment to support the disenfranchised and support communities often stigmatized and without political voice.
The first is the Shehkinah clinic in Tamale. Established in 1989, it currently has two facilities and a small farm used for its feeding program (on which more below). The clinic began as a reflection of the faith of its founder, Dr. David Abdulai, to serve the poor and marginalized in his hometown of Tamale, especially those suffering from mental illness. (Human Rights Watch estimates that there are an estimated 1 registered traditional healers for every 200 Ghanaians and one psychiatrist for every 2 million). The clinic provides a safe space for mentally ill and indigent patients to live, free medical services including surgery, and a feeding program aimed at Tamale’s homeless population (several hundred meals are served daily). The clinic is the subject of a wonderful documentary Under the Mango Tree by New York University alumna Katrina Moore, any revenue from which goes to support the clinic. A visit to the clinic (a regular stop on our class on hunger and food security in Ghana), can’t help but leave one moved and inspired. Twenty five years after its founding, the clinic continues to survive on donations and volunteers.
*Wondering about John's other favorite place in Accra? Find out in a few blog posts to come!
About the author: John Gershman is a Clinical Professor of Public Service at NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and co-teaches a course on Hunger and Food Security in Ghana every summer. He finds that grilled tilapia tastes best in Accra.