A Stolen Childhood and a Reclaimed Story: Brigitte Sossou Perenyi

Recently, I was introduced to an elegant looking woman in a coffee shop in Accra. She was well-spoken, chic, and had a good sense of humor, and a hello turned into a 30-minute conversation. Towards the middle of the convo, she told me about having had the opportunity to make a BBC documentary about her life. I was quite impressed talking to a twenty-something with her own documentary and told her I would check it out.

The woman was Brigitte Sossou Perenyi and her story was “My stolen childhood: understanding the trokosi system”. This fantastic documentary chronicles Brigitte’s and thousands of other West African girls’ unfair fate of being human sacrifices. In some cultures in Ghana, Togo, and Benin, a committed sin is believed to cause sickness and death in the family which can only be stopped if a girl is “sacrificed” and made a slave of a shrine.

This documentary is fantastic as it shows how striving for understanding of wrongs made against you can free you, how returning to the scene of the crime and remembering together can let your courage spread to others. Our heroine travels the region and speaks to everyone from an Uber-driver, a group of elders, academics studying the practice at the University of Ghana, her trokosi friend who also managed to get free, her family, and to all of us who want to listen to her story. I spent another half-an-hour with Brigitte and cherished every moment of it.

Thank you Brigitte for reclaiming and sharing your story with so much courage and truth-telling!

Trokosi, or ritual servitude, was made a crime in 1998, but no one has been prosecuted for a practice that is still ongoing and affecting many lives.

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Practical Women’s Day: WomenWhoInspire

Over the last week or two, I have been involved in a project to showcase inspirational women in Ghana. Here is the introduction to the  project and further down my contribution!

The first International Women’s Day (IWD) was first held in 1911 and every year since women have been celebrated and the issues that affect them highlighted on the 8th of March. While IWD started as a way of highlighting what was unjust, wrong and harmful to women, today we can also celebrate how far we’ve come and recommit to the work yet to be done.

WomenWhoInspire is an online project created by a group of Ghanaian women as a contribution to the 2014 International Women’s Day theme: Inspiring Change!

WomenWhoInspire is a reminder through video, photos and words that women everywhere are powerful, beautiful and truly inspiring. Join us as we celebrate WomenWhoInspire over the next two months. Let us celebrate the social, political and economic achievements of women! Let us advocate for equality for everyone! Share your story or that of another amazing Woman who inspires!

We want to encourage women to record themselves or other women. Here are some guidelines!

Suggestion for questions for 1 min video:

  1. “My name is … and I hope my story inspires you”,

  2. I am a / the …. eg mother, student, Manager of…[they can give multiple roles]

  3. I use technology to / when… eg I use technology when I use to communicate with friends and to get my work done.

  4. Another woman who inspires me is ….

  5. My three words of inspiration to women are…


When you upload your video, be sure to use the hashtag #WomenhoInspire if you want us to find it and share it!

My video

Here is the video I made, of an inspiring woman in my life, my mother-in-law Grace Dolly Acquah (apologies for poor sound).

An interesting aspect is how fun it has been working together with other women, Most of the work has been done online, but today we met Away From Keyboard and it was great!

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