How Danish Aid Worker, Loven, Transforms Nigerian Boy Accused Of Being Witch - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE

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Monday, December 21, 2020

How Danish Aid Worker, Loven, Transforms Nigerian Boy Accused Of Being Witch



                    •Hope and Loven

Still remember the boy left to starve to death by his parents who threw him out into the street on the grounds that he was a witch? 

Early in 2016, Danish aid worker Anja Ringgren Loven  spotted him with dishevelled and gravelly emaciated body and could barely stand as he gulped down water from a bottle.

 That was probably the first time in days he could have access to that quantum  of water at the time he was discovered by the good Samaritan.

The two - year - old  boy was abandoned by his family, who accused him of being a witch, according to Loven who found him in Uyo, the capital of Akwa Ibom State, the epicentre of superstitious - driven alleged child witches,  in Southern Nigeria.
The aid worker at the time,  says the boy, whom she christened Hope, had been living on the streets and survived on scraps from passersby.

According to her, the boy was heavily  infested with intestinal worms and had to place him on daily blood transfusions to revive him.

"Thousands of children are being accused of being witches and we've both seen torture of children, dead children and frightened children," she wrote in Danish on her Facebook page in 2016, appealing for funds to pay for food, medical bills and schooling.

Loven is the founder of African Children's Aid Education and Development Foundation, which she created to rescue children accused of witches.

 "Hope is getting so much better. Already gaining a lot of weight and looking so much more healthy. Now we only need him to talk.

"But that will come naturally when he is out of the hospital and starting his life among all our children.

"Children become stronger together," she stated on her Facebook page on February 12, 2016.

 But current happenings showed that the boy has transformed  greatly with high prospect of a brighter future, courtesy of Anja Ringgren Loven  and her foundation. 

He not only look well -fed and clothed but also handsome with potential for fitting into leadership position in future nationally and globally. 

His situation is a classical attestation that ignorance kills, destroys and holds society,  individual,  family,  community and even nation down while knowledge, enlightenment and  education liberate as demonstrated by Anja Ringgren Loven.

Although, it is a criminal offense in Akwa Ibom state, where Hope was found, to label a child a witch, but the practice persists largely due to ignorance,  superstition and other steeped religious beliefs. 

Belief in witchcraft thrives worldwide. In 2009, about 1,000 people accused of being witches in Gambia were locked in detention centers in March in 2016 and forced to drink a dangerous hallucinogenic potion, human rights organization Amnesty International said.

In 2014, a report by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees stated that human rights violations were taking place in Nepal, leading to violence against women, children, disabled people and the elderly.

The Daily Crucible recalls that in 2010, CNN reported on the plight of children in Nigeria who undergo frightening exorcisms and are sometimes killed by their own family.

One 5-year-old boy, named Godswill, had been accused of being a witch and neglected, beaten and ostracized by his own family and community. At the time, an Akwa Ibom state official acknowledged some cases, but said reports of child rescues were exaggerated.

Sam Ikpe-Itauma, of the local Child's Rights and Rehabilitation Network, which rescues children like Godswill, told CNN: "Once a child is said to be a witch, to be possessed with a certain spiritual spell capable of making that child transform into, like, cat, snake viper ... a child could cause all sorts of havoc like killing of people, bringing about diseases, misfortune into family."

Ikpe-Itauma doesn't believe in witchcraft and tries to raise awareness in communities gripped by hysteria. He believes poverty is a key factor that drives the belief in witchcraft. He says: "Poverty is actually a twin sister to ignorance."

Additional source: CNN

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