Godinterest Â reveals the story behind the heartbreaking image Â shared on social media almost one year ago of an aid worker photographed giving water to a severely emaciated child.
Anja Ringgren Lovn, the founder of the African Childrenâ€™s Aid Education and Development Foundation (ACAEDF), received a phone call about a two to three-year-old boy who had been abandoned by his family. Â Anja Ringgren Lovn Â gave water to the child, but was accused of being a witch.
Â Toddler was found emaciated and riddled with worms by a charity worker Â
Anja said: â€œWhen we heard that the child was only two to three years old we did not hesitate as a Â child that young cannot survive a long time alone on the streets. We immediately prepared a rescue mission.”
Hope is a Â casualty Â of a much larger superstition problem in Nigeria
Hope Â had to have a blood transfusion and be treated for worms, but is now Â in a stable condition and is being cared for by Anja. Â Hope is just one of many children who Anja has dedicated her life to helping. Four years ago, Anja decided to set up a charity in Nigeria to support children who had been accused of being witches – a casualty Â of Nigeriaâ€™s much larger superstition problem.
Hope was weak and in bad health when he was found
Anja Â said: â€œI travelled alone to Nigeria where I met children who had been abused and beaten almost to death because they were accused of witchcraft and therefore left alone to die. Â What I saw was barbaric and terrible and it left a deep impression on me. Â Thatâ€™s why I decided to sell everything I owned in Denmark to devote my time and life to help â€˜witch childrenâ€™ in Nigeria. Â Anja and her partner, David now runs a childrenâ€™s home for young people accused of witchcraft and Â have 34 children living in their care, all of whom have been accused of witchcraft.
Anja said: â€œWhen children are being tortured and abused and left alone on the street, it gives a child a lot of terrible trauma they carry around inside. Â Being rejected by your own family must be the worst feeling a child can experience, and I donâ€™t believe that anyone can imagine how that must feel like. Â Education is the key in the fight against superstition.”
On Tuesday, January 31, having made a miraculous recovery, the now healthy-looking youngster set off to embark on his education in a strapping red outfit. And to celebrate the milestone, Loven re-created the iconic image of her, encouraging him to drink from a bottle of water.
Hope, two, from Nigeria, is ‘really enjoying life now’, his rescuer Anja said.
African Childrenâ€™s Aid Education and Development Foundation (ACAEDF) Â works to ensure that all children in the southern Nigerian state of Akwa Ibom have the opportunity to go to school. Â