Anja Ringgren Loven, a Danish care worker who lives and operates from Nigeria back in February 2016, beat the likes of Pope Francis, Barack Obama and the Dalai Lama to top the list of 100 inspiring individuals compiled by German-language Ooom Magazine.
Why would a well read magazine place her above very popular and inspiring people like Dalai lama and Pope Francis?
Well you are about to find out.
Here are 10 Facts About Anja Ringgren Lovén (Saviour Of Nigeria’s ‘Witch Children’)
She says of her work, “I simply do not know how to describe it in words. This is what makes life so beautiful.”
1. Anja Ringgren Lovén is the co-founder of African Children’s Aid Education and Development Foundation, a charity institution set up to cater for African children who are abandoned, alone and tortured.
2. She created ACAEDF (African Children’s Aid Education and Development Foundation) to create a safe environment for the vulnerable children of Akwa Ibom state and give them hope and a better future.
Most importantly we wanted to give them a chance to go to school. We believe that education is the strongest weapon against ignorance and poverty.
How she came to Africa
3. She decided to resign as a store manager in 2011 to travel to Africa, where she worked for three months as an observer and relief worker for DanChurchAid.
4. During her stay she experienced poverty and hunger so extreme that she in no way was able to forget it again. Because of that she decided that she will spend the rest of her life fighting poverty and hunger in Africa and thus help some of the poorest people in the world, to get a better life.
When I found out that so many innocent children in the Niger Delta Region were tortured and killed due to superstition and the belief in witchcraft, I was in total shock. It really made me so sick to my bones. How could anyone do this to children?
So I was determined to find out and that is why no one could stop me from travelling to Nigeria.
5. She was inspired by one David Emmanuel Uwem (whom she later married and now has a kid for) and that was how she started saving children accused of witchcraft in the Niger Delta Region.
When I came to Nigeria for the first time in the beginning of 2013, I met David. He was working as a legal adviser and we became very close. I was very fascinated by him. Every day I saw how he was risking his own life to save children accused of witchcraft in the Niger Delta Region. He had so much passion and he was so active in child’s rights and we shared the same ideas and visions.
6. She became well known in Nigeria and the world over following the story of Hope; A little boy who was labelled a witch and abandoned by his family.
7. Before Hope was rescued by Ms Lovén and her husband David, Hope had been cast out by his own family on the basis of rural superstition, forced to live on the street where he contracted a number of illnesses including ‘but not limited to’ worms.
Anja Holding Hope
8. Anja rescued the boy, taking him to the African Children’s Aid Education and Development Foundation, which works to save kids from starvation and abuse.
Hope (center) is now a chubby kid
9. Anja is also hoping to educate the youngsters in her foundation and eventually put an end to the devastating effects Nigerian superstitions can have on young lives.
Saving a life does not make you a hero. It’s just a simple act of humanity. With love we can all make the world a better place
10. Currently in collaboration with Engineers without borders Denmark, Anja Ringgren is putting finishing touches on a new children’s center.
She plans to use the new building to not only run a children’s center but also a health clinic and educational center, and health center freely accessed by abused children who need medical attention.