Africa literacy facts reveal more than 1 in 3 adults cannot read. 182 million adults are unable to read and write and 48 million youths (ages 15-24) are illiterate. 22% of primary aged children are not in school, adding up to about 30 million primary aged children out of school.
With such a high rate of illiteracy, coupled with poverty, Africa is much influenced by superstition. Till now many societies in Africa are often immersed in beliefs such as witchcraft, ghosts, spirits etc, putting the lives of many people, including children and old women in danger.
The story of this innocent starved, naked little boy, went viral when accused of being a witch in Nigeria and was shunned by the community as a result. His story has come to light after a picture of a Danish woman Anja Ringgren Lovén feeding the little boy, now named Hope, went viral.
Anja is the founder of the African Children’s Aid Education and Development Foundation, which attempts to save ‘witch children’ and change attitudes of Nigerian communities towards this archaic and cruel practice.
When a child is accused of being a witch by any member of the village, with many times accusations coming from the child’s parents themselves, they are often tortured or killed.
Parents risk being killed if they let their child stay after an accusation. Anja’s foundation is working hard to help educate the local communities, many of which are poor and uneducated, which keeps this practice alive. When she posted this photo of Hope on her Facebook, she accompanied it with a powerful message.
“Thousands of children are being accused of being witches and we’ve both seen torture of children, dead children and frightened children. This footage shows why I fight. Why I sold everything I own. Why I’m moving out in uncharted territory,” she said. “I have chosen to call the boy Hope for right now, we all hope that he survives.”
Today he is doing well, with daily blood transfusions and a loving group of volunteers taking care of him.
Last year, seven people
in the East African country of Tanzania were killed following accusations of witchcraft. They were attacked and burnt to death by a mob of villagers who accused them of engaging in witchcraft.
Hope, the new name of the child saved by Anja recovering.