School children celebrated Ghanaian Independence Day yesterday with a visit from a survivor of the country’s former spirit child killing ritual.

Pupils at Snaresbrook Primary School in Meadow Walk were visited by Paul Apowida yesterday (March 9), who was poisoned three times when he was growing up in northern Ghana because his community believed he was possessed by evil spirits.

The 30-year-old escaped the attempted poisonings and was taken to grow up in an orphanage by a local nun.

There he met Georgie Fienberg, founder of Afrikids, Snaresbrook Primary’s chosen charity, which has worked to put an end to the ritual of spirit child killings in northern Ghana.

Paul, who has written a book called Spirit Boy about his experiences, said: “It is through Afrikids that I went to art school and had an education.

“If it wasn’t for Georgie helping me come to the UK, I wouldn’t have had the experiences I have been lucky enough to have.

“When I was growing up I liked helping other people and sharing my ideas, so by visiting the school kids here I can help them to share their ideas.”

The visit was organised by parent Emma Mortoo, from Wanstead, who has worked with Afrikids for over two years.

She said: “It was so nice for the children and their parents to learn more about Afrikids and the work they do in Ghana.

“Paul did an art workshop for the children, which they really enjoyed - it was fantastic."

Snaresbrook's Year Three teacher Mrs Agyeman said: “It was a really fun afternoon.

“I am from Ghana so it was very nice to be able to share some of my culture with the children.”

Mrs Agyeman taught children how to tie traditional African headscarves, and the children were also treated to a drumming workshop before performing a traditional Ghanaian song to teachers and parents.