March 30th, 2016
Source: huffingtonpost| Image Courtesy: Anja Ringgren Lovén mirror.co.uk mirror.co.uk boredpanda
Since ages children are accused of practising witchcraft in Africa and reports about it are on the rise. Recently, a photograph of a woman feeding water to a severely malnourished child, accused of being a witch, has been doing the rounds of the internet. The woman has now revealed what is the scenario of ‘witch children’ in Africa. She is Anja Ringgren Loven who lives in Nigeria.
The story of ‘Hope’
Anja Ringgren Loven rescued the two-year-old boy from Nigeria, who was abandoned by his family because they thought he was a witch. 34-year-old Anja, the founder of the African Children’s Aid Education and Development Foundation (ACAEDF), got a phone call about the boy and rushed to rescue him with her team. They found the boy (now named Hope) emaciated and riddled with worms as he was forced to live off scraps thrown to him by passerby for eight months. She took Hope to the hospital for his treatment and now Hope is recovering slowly. He is now taking food for himself and has gained the powers to sit up.
How Anja sold everything and came to Nigeria?
Three years ago, when Anja travelled to Africa from Denmark, for the first time she saw how children were being tortured for superstition in rural Nigeria. At that moment, she decided to dedicate her life to support children, who had been accused of being witches. For this, she sold everything in Denmark and came to back Nigeria to devote to the ‘witch children’.
Thousands of children all over Africa are tortured and beaten almost to death after being accused as witches, and they are left alone on the street. Anja and her husband David are now running a children’s home for them. The couple, who have a two-year-old son, currently have 34 children living in their care, all of whom have been accused of witchcraft. Their organisation also works to ensure that all children in the southern Nigerian state of Akwa Ibom have the opportunity to go to school.
The witchcraft practices in Africa
Africa is still entrenched in dogmas, myth and belief in magic. There is still prevalence of beliefs like charms and witchcraft, which has been handed down since time immemorial. Ritual killings are culturally acceptable in some parts of South Africa, therefore, the practice is not usually reported by community members. In Akwa Ibom and Cross River about 15,000 children were branded as witches and most of them ended up abandoned and abused on the streets. Children and babies branded as evil are being abused, abandoned and even murdered. The preachers make money out of the fear providing costly exorcism services of their parents and their communities.
The Logical Indian community appreciates the efforts by Anja Ringgren Loven and her husband to give these children a new lease of life.