A year ago, a child was abandoned on the streets of Nigeria, having been accused of being a witch. This was brought to light when Danish aid worker, Anja Ringgren Loven, who is based in Akwa Ibom, Nigeria rescued the child.
The boy whom she named Hope has, in a year undergone a massive transformation that is worth a throwback Thursday hashtag on social media.
Hope who had spent eight months on the streets looked thin and emaciated. A photo of Anja Loven bending to feed him went viral and caused many hearts to warm at the generosity of the Dutch woman.
Loven who is married to a Nigerian man is based in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state. She stated that through the years of her living in Nigeria, she has seen numerous cases similar to that of Hope’s.
“I’ve seen much here in Nigeria over the last 3 years. I have spared you for many experiences when we’ve been on the rescue operations,” she had said.
“Thousands of children are being accused of being witches and we’ve both seen torture of children, dead children, and frightened children. This footage shows why I fight. Why I sold everything I own.”
Upon Hope’s rescue, Loven took to social media to solicit funds for his medical bills
“He is in the hospital and you guys want to support Hope with medicine and hospital bills as you daily pay for hospitalization here in Nigeria.
“We just got back from the hospital and Hope’s condition is now very stable. He gets blood transfusion every day so he can receive red blood cells. He has many worms in his stool. The worms giving him some pain.
“Hope is getting so much better. Already gaining a lot of weight and looking so much healthier. Now we only need him to talk. But that will come naturally when he is out of the hospital and starting his life among all our children,” she wrote on her Facebook page at the time.
To mark a year of saving hope, Anja Loven took to social media once again, recreating the viral image of Hope during their first meeting, but this time, with a chubby and healthy Hope getting ready for school!
She said: “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.”
Loven founded the African Children’s Aid Education and Development Foundation three years ago to help children who have been tagged witches and ostracized by their families and the community.
For this single act, Anja Loven received a lot of recognition for her humanity, including the Most Inspiring Person in 2016.