Hope, a young boy from Nigeria, has undergone a remarkable transformation since being rescued by a Danish charity after being abandoned and labeled a witch by his community.

In 2016, a heart-wrenching image circulated on social media showing a malnourished two-year-old Nigerian boy named Hope. He was being cared for by Anja Ringgren Loven, a Danish volunteer and the founder of DINNødhjælp, a charity organization. The image of Hope, frail and alone on the streets, moved people worldwide.Hope had been cast out by his family and community due to superstitions that labeled him a witch.

Anja recounted, “When we found Hope, he was in a dire state, battling severe malnutrition and various illnesses. His initial weeks in the hospital were critical. It was uncertain if he would survive.”Anja then brought Hope to her charity, which has been a sanctuary for over hundreds of abandoned children over eight years. After four years under Anja’s care, Hope’s transformation has been nothing short of miraculous.“Hope is now thriving, enjoying school, and is exceptionally talented in art. He has a real knack for drawing, with many of his artworks being sold. We affectionately call him our little Picasso,” Anja added.

Since his rescue, Hope has not reunited with his family, and attempts to contact his relatives have been unsuccessful. Despite his challenging start, Hope now looks at the photo from when Anja found him with a sense of happiness.“He often points to that picture and smiles, a sign of his inherent ability to forgive and lack of prejudice,” said Anja, who is now an ambassador for the Universal Peace Federation International. “We teach Hope not to harbor resentment towards his parents. It’s essential to remember that societal issues like ignorance and corruption can strip away fundamental human rights, including education, healthcare, and social protection.”

In many cases, accusations of witchcraft against children stem from misfortunes like family deaths, crop failures, unemployment, or infertility. These children are often scapegoated and abandoned by their communities.

Anja and her team have nurtured over 300 children, with 76 currently under their care at DINNødhjælp, which is West Africa’s largest children’s center. The center also shelters girls who have faced extreme abuse and neglect.

“Education is a crucial tool for societal change and a weapon against ignorance. Addressing these issues requires human interaction, communication, and not judgment. Our work involves changing mindsets and raising awareness through advocacy in rural communities,” Anja shared, emphasizing the power of education and compassionate outreach in transforming lives.

Hope’s story, from his desolate beginnings to his current joy-filled life, stands as a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the transformative power of compassion and care.

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