Every once in a while we’re rewarded with a real life happy ending. Life is seldom sympathetic to the unfortunate and we’ve become acclimatised to doom and gloom. So it’s always a welcome surprise to hear something positive. This is just one example.
You might remember a certain chilling series of photographs taken last year, which showed a starving African child who had been abandoned by his parents after they suspected he was a witch. In the pictures the emaciated boy, who was named “Hope”, is attended to by Anja Ringgren Loven, a Danish woman living in Africa.
These horrific images broke the hearts of millions of people who viewed them. But what you might not know is that Anja adopted Hope and cared for him as his mother. Anja had to take the boy to hospital to get medication to remove the worms from his stomach and to receive blood transfusions.
Now, one year on, Hope is almost unrecognisable from the boy who was starving in the streets. A donation of almost $1 million paid his medical bills and transformed him back into a healthy, normal toddler again. In fact, he’s even ready to start school.
Aid worker Anja Ringgren Loven is the founder of The African Children’s Aid Education and Development Foundation, which she formed in 2013 to provide care and resources to children who have been accused of witchcraft and therefore neglected or even abused by members of their community. In some cases, children accused of witchcraft in Africa are put to death. Anja Loven and her husband, David Emmanuel Umem, run a children’s centre where the youngsters they save are given access to medical supplies, food, clothing, shelter and schooling.
In an emotional Facebook post, Anja wrote: “On the 30th of January 2016 I went on a rescue mission with David Emmanuel Umem, Nsidibe Orok and our Nigerian team. A rescue mission that went viral, and today it’s exactly one year ago the world came to know a young little boy called Hope. This week Hope will start school.”
“Thousands of children are being accused of being witches and we’ve both seen torture of children, dead children and frightened children,” Anja also wrote on Facebook. “With all the money, we can, besides giving Hope the very best treatment, now also build a doctor clinic on the new land and save many more children out of torture.”
Reports by humanitarian organisations such as UNICEF, UNHCR, Save The Children and Human Rights Watch have all drawn attention to abuse towards children accused of witchcraft. Accusation of witchcraft in Africa is a very serious matter as the witch is culturally understood to be the epitome of evil and the cause of all misfortune.
If you would like to assist these unfortunate children in any way, please visit Land of Hope Children’s Centre’s Facebook page to make a donation.