Wednesday 18 October 2017

Just look at him now: Woman who rescued Nigerian ‘witch’ child named 2016’s most inspiring person

The image of Anja and Hope that went viral around the world
The image of Anja and Hope that went viral around the world
Patricia Murphy

Patricia Murphy

A woman who saved the life of a Nigerian child abandoned by his community has been named 2016’s most inspiring person beating the likes of Barack Obama and the Dalai Lama.

Anja Ringgren Lovén, a Danish care worker, and her husband David rescued the two-year-old boy in February after he was cast out by his family who believed he was a ‘witch-child’. The care worker shared photos of Hope who was extremely malnourished and had a number of illnesses, which went viral internationally. The mum also shared photos of Hope eight months after strangers donate more than €1m to the cause to highlight the importance of the work being carried out by international aid agencies.

Anja and her husband were already parents to their own son, but the couple felt compelled to help little Hope who had little chance of survival on his own.

Speaking about the moment she met Hope, Anja said: “He was the size of a little baby, my whole body froze.

Anja and her husband were already parents to their own son, but the couple felt compelled to help little Hope who had little chance of survival on his own. Photo Credit: Anja Ringgren Loven
Anja and her husband were already parents to their own son, but the couple felt compelled to help little Hope who had little chance of survival on his own. Photo Credit: Anja Ringgren Loven

“I became a mother myself 20 months ago and I was thinking of my own son when I saw the boy. For me it was clear at that moment that I would fight with all my strength for him to survive.”

Georg Kindel, editor-in-chief of OOOM who led the jury, said: “Anja Ringgren Lovén is a beacon of hope and the most inspiring person of the year 2016.”

The image of Anja and Hope that went viral around the world
The image of Anja and Hope that went viral around the world

“When she saw the starving child, she acted like a human being and became an inspiration for millions. Her sustained efforts to help the abandoned children of Nigeria gives us hope and encourages us to follow suit.”

President Barack Obama was named second on the list, which also features actress Charlize Theron, Pope Francis and Leonardo Di Caprio.

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