Akwa Ibom boy, Hope, who was accused of witchcraft and left to starve to death has been reunited with his father six year after he was rescued by a Anja Ringgren Lovén, a Dutch woman.
Anja Ringgren Lovén is the founder of Land of Hope, which is a leader in the fight to save the thousands of children in Nigeria who are accused of being witches every year.
Anja became world famous when a picture of her squatting in front of a small, emaciated Nigerian “witch child” went viral in 2016. She gave him biscuits and water, which he carefully drank, carefully picked him up in her arms and took him to the hospital. Anja didn’t think he would survive.
“When we got him into the car, I looked at my husband David and told him we should name him Hope. I didn’t want him to die without a name. He should die with dignity,” she had said.
Six years after, that same boy has been reunited with his father.
Anya, on her Facebook page said a few days ago, Land of Hope Director of Child Development Nsidibe Orok and her took Hope on home visit.
“We want the villagers to witness Hope´s amazing transformation. The last time we took Hope back to his village was in 2018 where we held a conference about superstition in the city hall for the entire community.
“This time Hope was excited to be back because he understands more and much to our surprise we suddenly stood face to face with his uncle, the brother to his mother!!
“In 2016 when we rescued Hope, the uncle was working in another state so he was not around. He also told us that Hope´s father was back in the village after being away for years. Suddenly we were on our way to Hope´s father´s house. It was very surreal,” she explained.
Anya added that the uncle told them that Hope looked a lot like his father, saying it was true, as the resemblance was striking.
“Hope’s parents are divorced. Due to safety reasons and legality I cannot go into details. But I will say this, Hope´s father was very surprised to see his son again. And Hope just kept starring at him. David Jr. was there too.
“He was so caring and with hand signs he kept telling Hope that everything was fine. When we came back to the Land of Hope, Hope took my phone and was so excited to show the children the pictures of him and his father. Exactly like all the other children do when they come back from home visit.
“Hope is not going to live with his father or mother for many reasons. But no matter what has happened in the past, children need to know their roots. Children need to know where they come from because it helps shape their identity.
“Hope has the right to have an identity. Having an identity is a fundamental human right. For Hope to know more about his cultural background and where he comes from will help him to develop a strong sense of who he really is.
“For Hope to know where he comes from does not mean that he will ever forget what happened, on the contrary, it will set him free and take him to a more powerful place in his life,” she added.