Hope, a Nigerian boy who was once abandoned by his parents and villagers on the street and considered a witch, is now healthy and gifted in the arts after four years of being adopted by a charity.
In early 2016, a 2-year-old Nigerian boy made the world cry when he appeared in a photo on social networks. A stunted, naked baby in the middle of the street is being fed and given water by Anja Ringgren Loven, a Danish volunteer and founder of the charity DINNødhjæl.
The boy, named Hope, was abandoned by his family and villagers, shunned for being a witch.
“When we rescued him, Hope’s condition was terrible. He was severely malnourished and suffered from many diseases. The first two weeks of his hospital stay, he was in critical condition. We didn’t even have a chance to see him. I don’t know if I can survive,” Anja said.
Hope was then taken back to her charity by Anja to take care of hundreds of abandoned children over the past eight years. After 4 years of being raised and raised, Hope has had a spectacular change.
“Hope is very healthy now and enjoys going to school. He is very smart and his passion is art. Hope is really gifted at drawing and many of his paintings are sold. We call him. is the little Picasso,” added Anja.
Since returning to DINNødhjæl, Hope has not seen her parents again and the organization has not been able to contact any of her relatives. Despite a rough start, Hope is now able to happily review the photo when she was found by Anja.
“He would often point at the photo and smile like he was proud,” said Anja, now an ambassador for Universal Peace Federation International. “But I know that’s not pride. Children are born with the ability to forgive and without prejudice. We raised Hope to enmity with parents, who abandoned her, accused her of wrongdoing. I’m a witch and left me on the street to die? and corruption. No society can thrive if people are deprived of basic human rights such as access to education, health care and social protection.”
Accusations of witchcraft often stem from death or illness in the family, crop failure, unemployment, or infertility. Children were in turn made scapegoats and labeled as witches, and abandoned by the villagers themselves.
Anja and her team have raised more than 300 children and now care for 76 children at DINNødhjæl, West Africa’s largest children’s center.
Among them are 9-year-old girls who have been tortured, sexually abused and even buried alive.
“Education is the most powerful investment in society and the most powerful weapon against ignorance. To solve a problem, you need human interaction and communication, not human interaction. judgment. We are professional in the way we work. We need to help people change their minds and enlighten them through advocacy programs in rural areas,” Anja shared.