Anna Rengren Lovin, a Danish born woman who grew up in Sweden, was at all watching television when she happened upon a channel that was showing a documentary with the title The Witch Children of Africa. It was shocking to her that learned that superstition was being used to torture and kill innocent children and she decided to find out more, however, with an endearing nature for philanthropic services.
Having worked as a humanitarian worker in countries such as Malawi and Tanzania, she beams her benevolent gesture to Nigeria with the documentary of The Witch Children of Africa serving as her catalyst against witchcraft accusations against children innocent in Nigeria.
Having established a Danish non governmental organization in 2012 with a mission to raise awareness about superstition in Africa, with a particular focus on Nigeria, she traveled to the country the following year for the first time in her life to begin the process of educating people about superstition.
With the assistance of her husband, David Umm, she has rescued over 100 children who have been labeled as witches and has built what has been described as the largest children’s center in West Africa known as Land of Hope Aqua, IBM.
She’s married to a Nigerian and the couple have a son together. I was born and raised in Denmark, which is one of the safest and wealthiest countries on the planet, she explained. As a result, living and working in Nigeria has been a struggle as well as an educational experience. The birth of David Jr. My first child with David in 2014 cemented my identity as a Nigerian mother.
Although I have lived in Nigeria for seven years, I did so as a humanitarian worker in Africa, so I had a lot of experience with the continent before moving to Nigeria. Nigeria, on the other hand, is a country that sadly has numerous issues. I am deeply concerned about corruption and human rights concerns in Nigeria, she stated. Hope is one of the children saved by her team. He was abandoned by his parents when he was two years old and left unwell with hunger and worms feeding on his body.
He was rescued in January 2016, eight months after he was sentenced to death after being accused of practicing witchcraft. According to her, the incident occurred four years ago when she and the rest of the crew were on a mission rescue when they received a tip about an orphaned youngster in need of rescue from a local villager.
As a result, we headed to the village to investigate the situation. Before rescuing Hope, we had already rescued more than 50 children, all of whom were in a horrific state, so we were well prepared. As the townspeople stated, Hope’s parents were not present in the Hamlet and they left him alone on the street, leading them to believe he was a witch.
We took Hope to the hospital for treatment and the rest, as they say, is history, said the family. In today’s world, he’s very healthy, and robust young kid who enjoys going to school and playing with his Land of Hope companions. Anja, who has tattoos covering a major portion of her body, including the message Hope, which she says means help one person every day, shared her thoughts on the problems as a white woman working in Nigeria, saying, Hope represents my life’s passion for me. In general, though, I believe that the world media has portrayed a very negative picture of Nigeria in general. Nigerians are extremely pleasant and outgoing individuals.
I adore Nigeria and have a strong sense of belonging to the country. Nigerians are dedicated workers, but they also face a number of obstacles as a result of tremendous poverty and corruption, says the author. I believe that Nigerians are extremely powerful because they’re steadfast in their religion.
Despite the setbacks they faced in recent years, however, the country requires human rights activists like my husband and I to speak out against injustices and to fight for the rights of children in order to progress. For many years, David and I supported the government’s efforts by advocating on a consistent basis that people should defend the rights of all children by providing the children at Land of Hope with a good, sound and qualitative education.
We’re also contributing to the government’s efforts, as education is the key to unlocking the doors of consciousness here’s about Christianity, witchcraft and Exorcism From a Christian Perspective While speaking on superstitious beliefs in Nigeria, Anja remained mum on her feelings towards witches, stating that superstition is especially prevalent in Cross River Rivers and Aqua Bomb States, where we have begun a vigorous effort to combat the plague of superstition.
The beliefs of Pentecostal Christianity denominations are blended with the beliefs of native tribal religion in Aqua Abom state, resulting in a lethal concoction that includes belief in witches and exorcism. The stigmatization of children as witches is a relatively new phenomenon in Nigeria’s Niger Delta region, which erupted in the 1990s after a brief period of repression. Prior to then, elderly ladies were the most frequently accused of practicing witchcraft. It was anticipated that 150 children had been branded in the Southern States of Aqua, IBM and Cross Rivers by 2008, according to reports.
According to studies conducted during that time period, documented incidents including children and babies who had nails driven into their brains, were made to drink cement, were set on fire, were disfigured by acid, were poisoned and were even buried alive. A 2010 UNICEF report stated that vulnerable children with physical disabilities or illnesses such as epilepsy are often targeted, while others are labeled as withdrawn, indolent, or disruptive. Affirming that the Child Rights Act of 2003 had not yet been ratified in Nigeria, she stated that the country’s criminal code forbade accusing or even threatening to accuse someone of being a witch.
Furthermore, under the Kids Rights Act of 2003, it is an offense to subject any child to physical or emotional torture, as well as to subject them to any cruel or degrading treatment. However, even though this piece of law was enacted at the national level, it still must be legally ratified by the country’s 36 States.
This not only confers exclusive responsibility on individual States, but it also empowers them to enact legislation that’s tailored to their particular circumstances. In Nigeria, only around three quarters of the States have adopted the legislation, and to date, only the state of Aqua Bomb has included explicit measures regarding the mistreatment of accused child witches. In 2008, it passed a law that made witch branding criminal by a prison sentence of up to ten years.
Despite lobbying efforts, Cross River State has yet to change its own 2009 version of the legislation to expressly outlaw the practice. Nigeria is a country full of horror for the children as girls as young as nine accused of witchcraft are tortured, sexually abused and even buried alive.
Anja continued her story about hope and others who were saved by her, also saying the following. A woman who founded a charity to help children convicted of witchcraft was detailed how young girls are tormented, sexually, molested and even buried alive.
Anja Ringran Lovin, a Danish woman who founded Land of Hope in Nigeria in 2012, has rescued hundreds of abandoned children in the last eight years. After seeing a documentary about superstition in Nigeria, the 42 year old, who shares her time between Nigeria and Denmark, decided to start the charity. Death or disease in the family.
Agriculture failures, work issues or infertility are all common sources of accusations of witchcraft, and children are frequently used as scapegoats and labeled as witches. Superstition is particularly prevalent in Nigeria States of Cross River Rivers and Aqua Bomb, where I live and run my children’s center with my husband, David Emmanuel Ummm Anja stated Pentecostal Christianity doctrines are blended with Indigenous tribal faiths in Aqua Abom to create a lethal mixture that includes witchcraft and exorcism.
Children being labeled as witches as a relatively new occurrence in the Niger Delta, which erupted in the 1990s. Prior to that, it was mostly old women who were accused of witchcraft. According to Anja, young children are frequently tortured and burned alive, and some have had nails pushed into their brains, then made to drink cement, been scarred by acid, poisoned or even buried alive.
According to her, some youngsters are sexually assaulted. Anja has rescued a 13 year old girl who is pregnant, as well as a nine year old girl who has a variety of sexually transmitted diseases. Anja’s organization aims to fight against charges that children are witches, a threat that has resulted in the stigmatization, torture, abandonment and death of hundreds of children in Nigeria. According to Anja, children suspected of witchcraft are often stigmatized as outcast by their village. The majority of local villagers would avoid such youngsters and will cast them out of society, Anja said.
The kids are no longer allowed to go to school and their friends are refusing to play with them. Some youth leaders may form a gang to torture or murder children accused of witchcraft. Most of their family members will likewise abandon them, but not because they no longer love them. They don’t have the authority to defend them. And if a family retains a witch child in their house, the entire family may be subjected to additional witchcraft allegations.
Anja documented a heartbreaking instance on Facebook In which she rescued a young kid named hope who had been branded a witch by his family and abandoned by the side of the road. At the time of rescue. We had very little faith in hope survival, Anja said on Facebook. For months, he had been labeled a witch and abandoned by his parents. He should have been breastfed at a young age.
For hope, the last three years with us have been a new world. Hope is a joyful youngster who enjoys going to school and receiving love and care on a daily basis. I’m just told the story of Michael, a seven year old boy who was discovered homeless after his town accused him of being a witch and threatened to poison him. He was apprehended by a bunch of men one night and severely beaten. However, he escaped the Savage attack and fled to another Hamlet on Japan.