Meet Hope, a young boy from Nigeria who faced abandonment by his parents and neighbors and was even labeled as a witch. However, thanks to the kindness of a charity, he now enjoys good health and has discovered his talent in the arts after being under their care for four years.
Back in 2016, an image of a malnourished 2-year-old boy from Nigeria went viral on social media. The picture showed a naked infant being fed and given water by Anja Ringgren Loven, a Danish volunteer who runs the charity DINNødhjæl. It was heart-wrenching to see such a small child in such a desperate situation.
Hope, a young boy, was rejected by his family and the community he belonged to because they believed that he was a witch.
Anja expressed that Hope was in a terrible state when they rescued him, with severe malnourishment and multiple illnesses. During the first two weeks of his hospitalization, he was critically ill, and they were not even able to see him. Anja shared that she was unsure if she could handle such a difficult situation.
Anja brought Hope back to her charity where she has been taking care of numerous abandoned children for the past eight years. In just four years, Hope has undergone a remarkable transformation. Currently in good health, Hope enjoys attending school and is particularly keen on art. He possesses great talent in drawing and his paintings are highly sought after. Anja affectionately calls him the “little Picasso.” Despite not having seen his parents since returning to DINNødhjæl, Hope is content and happy. Although his early life was challenging, he looks back fondly at the photo of himself when he was first discovered by Anja. The organization hasn’t been able to locate any of Hope’s relatives as yet.
Anja, an ambassador for Universal Peace Federation International, shares that her adopted son would often smile proudly at a photo but she knows it is not true pride. Hope was raised in an environment filled with enmity and prejudice as her own parents accused her of wrongdoing due to her mother’s belief in witchcraft. This is a common accusation that stems from issues such as death, illness, crop failure, unemployment, or infertility, with children being made scapegoats and abandoned by their own communities. Anja and her team have helped over 300 children, with 76 currently under their care at DINNødhjæl, the largest children’s center in West Africa. Sadly, some of these children have experienced torture, sexual abuse, and even being buried alive at just nine years old. Anja believes that basic human rights such as education, healthcare, and social protection are essential for any society to thrive.
Investing in education is a potent tool to combat ignorance and empower society. The key to solving problems lies in human interaction and communication, not in judgment. Our approach to work is professional, and we aim to promote advocacy programs in rural areas to change people’s mindsets and enlighten them. This is how Anja expressed her thoughts on the matter.