Remember the picture of the Nigerian kid who was starving to death when he was rescued by an aid worker and offered water? That frail and abandoned child is a healthy and happy 5-year-old who now goes to school.
In late January 2016, the internet world was haunted by the picture of this child abandoned to starve by his parents because they believed he was a “witch.” The rescue worker in the picture was seen holding a food packet and tilting a water bottle towards him.
Dette her billede gik for snart 10 måneder siden verden rundt, og er idag et af verdens mest delte billeder. I aften…
The rescue worker was Anja Ringgren Lovén, from Denmark, who works for an organization called DINNødhjælp (“your relief”). The abandoned child was aptly named Hope after he was rescued.
Anja’s organization rescues children who are neglected and tortured by their parents, who kill them because they are considered “witches.” The practice is promoted by certain “religious” leaders who charge parents for their “exorcism” services. Anja’s organization rescues these children and shelters them. Currently, the organization is taking care of 67 children in southern Nigeria according to its website.
Hope was also sheltered and taken care of by Anja and her team. He also underwent corrective surgery to treat hypospadias, “an inborn condition in which one has an incomplete developed urethra,” as per The Independent. Money was raised in order to support Hope’s medical treatments.
However, a year later after he was rescued, in 2017, he recovered fully and started going to school. He lives in an orphanage with other kids branded as “witches” and abandoned by their parents.
When Hope’s life took a 180-degree turn, as he started to go to school in early 2017, Anja took to Facebook to update the boy’s condition: “On 30 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 1 year ago the world came to know a young little boy called Hope. This week Hope will start school.”
Alluding to his incredible transformation from someone who was all skin and bones to a happy and healthy child, Anja shared: “As you can see Hope is growing with speed and he is such a handsome, healthy and very happy young boy because of the tremendous love and care he receives everyday from our staff and all our children.”
On the 30 of January 2016 I went on a rescue mission with David Emmanuel Umem, Nsidibe Orok and our Nigerian team. A…
She further added, “Where there is love there is hope.”
Then in 2018, when Hope completed two years of being rescued, Anja shared a heart-touching post with 40 pictures that depicted his incredible journey. The pictures show abandoned Hope turn into an enthusiastic boy who goes to school. It also includes moments of joy that he shares with the other children who have been abandoned and rescued by Anja and her team.
On the 30 of January 2016 David and I together with our team went on a rescue mission that would change our lives…
This post immediately went viral and garnered 10,000 likes and some 2,000 shares.
Many social media users were curious to know how the little boy was doing, to which Anja’s team responded by saying, “Hope is in a very good development. He is very intelligent and doing great in school. He cannot pronounce words as other kids his age. But he is observed by specialist doctors and we are working hard to develop his voice.”
There is no looking back for Hope. In early 2019, he took part in his school’s Inter-House Sports Festival and ran the 100-meter race representing his team. In May 2019, Anja posted pictures of the sweet boy showing off his flexing moves. The comments on the posts show that Hope has fans from across the world.
From being branded a witch, abandoned, rejected and stigmatized to representing his school in 100 meters race…
However, the issue of witchcraft still exists in Africa. Over the years, thousands of children have been burned, starved, and abandoned as they are believed to be witches. As per Safe Child Africa: “In 2010, a report estimated that there were more than 20,000 children on the streets of Kinshasa in DR Congo as a result of witchcraft accusations and thousands more across West Africa.”
We hope that more children who suffer this fate can get the care they deserve, like how Hope did.
Okay so today Hope wants you to see his new tailored school uniform 👦🏿👔📚👌🏿💚Looking so sharp and cool 😎
Watch a video here about how Hope recovered under Anja’s care and love: