Viral Akwa Ibom boy reunites with his father six years after he was branded a witch and left to starve to death
The malnourished 2-year-old boy who was rescued by a Danish aid worker, Anja Ringgren Lovén, in January 2016 after he was branded a witch by his family and left to starve to death has reunited with his father.
It would be recalled that a picture of the little boy, Hope, being fed water by Lovén went viral on the internet in 2016, and it was discovered that he was abandoned and left to wander the streets of Akwa Ibom after being accused of being a witch by his family.
However, he was rescued by the Danish woman and her husband, David Emmanuel Umem, and taken to the Children’s Education and Development Foundation (ACAEDF) a.k.a “Land of Hope”.
Fast forward to this year, Lovén took the young champ to his village in Akwa Ibom to know his roots and there he met his father again for the first time in six years.
Taking to her Facebook page on Monday, August 1, the aid worker shared pictures of Hope posing with his father and her son, David Jnr.
She however noted that Hope would never stay with his father or mother again but it’s sacrosanct for him to know his story and where he comes from.
Read her post below:
“For more than 6 years of searching we have finally found Hope´s father !!! A few days ago Land of Hope Director of Child Development Nsidibe Orok and I 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. The uncle told us that Hope looked a lot like his father and it was true. 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 staring 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.”