Selma Phidelia Korley is a Ghanaian entrepreneur trained at Ashesi University in the country’s capital city of Accra. She is also TheAfricanDream.net March 2021 COVID-19 heroine for her philanthropic work done amidst the global pandemic that showed compassion to people negatively impacted by COVID-19 in Ghana — especially women alleged to be witches.
March 11, 2020, makes for exactly 1 year when the Ethiopian head of WHO Tedros Adhanom declared COVID1-9 a pandemic .
“It is rather unfortunate that in 2021 a segment of people in a country believe passionately in witchcraft and have branded a section of their people witches and as a result banished them to parts of their communities to live alone in shame and despair,” Selma said about the women [alleged to be witches] at Tindan Zee isolation camp, at Kpatinga in the Northern region of Ghana.
“The peculiar reason for visiting these poor old widows, women, and mothers at the Tindan Zee isolation camp is to, first of all, prove to society that they are not witches, and to provide a source of light for them especially in a raging pandemic.” Selma who refused to reference the women as witches told TheAfricanDream.net that “these women receive no source of light at the camp where they live, and by light I mean it literally and also figuratively in the sense of positive emotions, psychological support and love.“
Accompanied by her colleagues from The Beautiful Heart Foundation of which she is founder, Selma traveled by road from her base in Ghana’s Greater Accra region to Northern Ghana covering a total distance of 386 miles (621 km) amidst the pandemic. They did this to make sure these women who are prone to misfortunes like reptile bites and other dangers especially at nights for lack of lighting in their huts “by the way they also have no doors to their huts too. We felt they badly needed the lights we donated.”
The hard part was not the drive up to the women…
“For us, the hardest part was not the drive, but way before that, it was raising funds during this covid-era in Ghana that had recently come off an election. People, even our regular donors felt reluctant to give to our Kpatinga project. People were not too sure what will happen after the elections, and after it, people generally needed to save the little they had, and here we were asking for donations to secure solar lamps to help light up the rooms and environment of women alleged to be witches” Selma disclosed to TheAfricanDream.net over the phone.
“COVID-19 has generally really affected people negatively and for a nonprofit in a third world country we started to feel the pinch in our donations, that made raising funds for our charity projects difficult, especially for this particular one, simply because most people had lost their jobs and so could not donate,” Selma said, adding that “the love of God inspires me to help the poor, and ways have always been made to do so for us since we started this foundation 6 years ago.“
Phidelia with volunteers of her Foundation and inmates of the Kpatinga isolation camp. Photo courtesy of Dan Baffour/ARTBEES MULTIMEDIA
Folks at The Beautiful Heart Foundation had to dig deep into their humanity epitomize the word heart in the name of their organization, to convince donors that these women needed the light because they were humans and lived in impoverished parts of the country, that they could be anyone’s aunt, mother, granny or even sister.
“It was the human aspect that felt important to us, beneficiaries were old-aged women and widows at an isolation witch camp ranging from 70 to 80 years in age — would you want a relative of yours in such a situation?” quipped Selma who confirmed that besides solar lamps, items donated included foodstuff and articles of clothing.
But there’s more work to be done, so we could use some more hearts
“Thank you so much to you guys at TheAfricanDream.net for making us your COVID-19 Heroes of March 2021, we greatly appreciate that. But there’s more work to be done, so we could use some more hearts here at Beautiful Heart Foundation because doing good never ends,” according to Selma who called for more support for her nonprofit and all nonprofits and philanthropic institutions worldwide.
“There are other 6 isolation camps in the Northern region of Ghana that are occupied by these same kinds of women we came to support. Society must not shirk its responsibility to these people, we can’t keep pointing fingers at them to excuse ourselves from giving them what they duly deserve — a decent life and right to exist amongst their loved ones,” Selma appealed.
The goal for Selma and her foundation is to visit these camps often, including the other 5 to help them with relief items. “We do not only seek to donate to them, but to also bring them salvation for those that believe in God, and to also bring them love and hope through our actions the society here and all over that feel this negatively about these women will gradually have a change of attitudes.“
Expect more and better projects that will build a better livelihood for beneficiaries of The Beautiful Hearts. Our next project is to build human capacities by providing entrepreneurship training for unemployed young women in poor communities. Selma appealed that “to do this we will need more aid” for the deprived and poor who are rejected and abandoned by their families and communities.
“At this point, we are just grateful for the support and encouragement from all heroes and heroines of COVID-19 and want them to keep hope alive and pressing on,” Selma motivated, concluding that she “also appreciated the support received from everyone over the years. Stay safe out there and connect with us on Instagram by searching @thebeautifulheartabla or call us at +233244208206. Thanks for having Beautiful Hearts!“
Written by Oral Ofori