For some reason this has been the hardest entry I’ve written so far in the history of my blog, but the subject matter is something that I really feel needs to be addressed so that’s why I haven’t let myself abandon it. A couple of months ago I saw a video on my Facebook feed that horrified me. Just when I thought humanity couldn’t stoop any lower, I was once again proven wrong by the story of a Danish aid worker, Anja Ringgren Loven, and the starving 2-year-old boy she saved from certain death in Nigeria. You might think that’s all a good thing, and it is, but the horrifying part is the reason why the boy had been abandoned by his family eight months before… because he had been accused of witchcraft, otherwise known as “kindoki”.
I couldn’t believe what I was seeing as this video played. Anja is a founder of an organization called African Children’s Aid Education and Development Foundation, whose purpose is to save children like the boy she later named Hope.
Wait, you might say… there are enough children being accused of witchcraft in Africa to necessitate a need for an entire organization to help them? Yes, there is and from what I’ve been able to find out there is actually more that one such organization, which I found even more surprising.
Apparently this isn’t even a new story, just the first time I’d ever heard of it. I started scouting around YouTube and found that in 2009 ABC News ran a story on Nightline about children being accused of witchcraft in Congo. In the piece, noted ABC correspondent, Dan Harris, visited numerous churches were priests were performing their version of ‘exorcisms’ on children, one only 6 years old. Hot wax was applied to their bodies. They were yelled at, swung around by their arms, beaten and starved. The eyes of these children expressed the terror they were going through, unable to understand what was happening around them. Because of my Christian upbringing, I want to hope that the larger governing bodies of dioceses who support missionaries in these areas have no idea of what’s being done in the name of Jesus Christ, but I don’t know for anything for sure.
What’s really disturbing is that local government officials seem to be lacking in any sense what so ever. “Dark eyes and a big tummy” are signs that a child is a witch according to an official in Nigeria in the same ABC news piece. I always thought a bulging tummy was a sign of malnutrition.
Children’s Right and Rehabilitation Network started by Sam Ikpe-Itauma was featured in a CNN piece in 2010 and talked about how he was at that point caring for 200 orphans who had all been accused of witchcraft. One girl had parts of her fingers cut off with a machete and her head was scared from boiling hot water having been pored on her during an exorcism. She was accused of being responsible for killing her mother.
So why is this happening? Well, the simple answer is that blaming a child for their families bad luck is easy. Children become a scapegoat in countries like Congo and Nigeria where there is little to no economic development and low paying jobs. According to a study done in 2010, most countries in Central Africa have the lowest rates of contraception use and therefore have high birth rates. In my eyes, children are plentiful and expendable. It’s frightening in such a modern age.
The next question has to be what can we do for these children? I think that first and foremost we need to educate ourselves about the issue. For more information I invite you to check out the websites of the various organizations I learned about. The links are:
African Children’s Aid Education and Development Foundation
Children’s Right and Rehabilitation Network
I also put together a playlist of YouTube videos on my personal channel that I found during my research here:
Next, we need to let our representatives know how we feel about child abuse in countries the United States may or may not be giving aid to. Contacting the world organizations like the United Nations or Unicef with a show of concern is another option that I’m going to be looking into. If you are able the organizations I’ve listed above and others like them also accept donations that help them accomplish their work.
I think that for me, as a witch, the most important work I can do is energetically. We have the unique perspective of being able use the very idea that is being used to hurt children to hopefully stop the abuse. Spellwork aimed at helping families to understand the situation and that their children aren’t hurting them is a good first step. Work to help the economic situation in these countries would also encourage change, because if families have the means of providing basic things like food and shelter, then the fear they are currently living in might disappear. Work to protect abused children and aid the organizations helping them is another positive route. The possibilities are really endless and if I get enough of a response to this post I would even consider putting together rituals and other workings to share so that we could put energy out there together. Just let me know.
I think that’s where I will end this post for now. I know I still have things to think about and I hope that you do as well. If you were encouraged to do workings on your own then I would love to hear about them.
Thanks for walking the Path a little while with me and until next time, Blessed Be!
UPDATE: I visited Anja’s Facebook page this morning and found this post from earlier today (May 24, 2016):
“Yesterday I received the Danish medal of honor called “The Niels Ebbesen Medal” in the City Hall of Randers, Denmark.
The motivation for the medal: “Anja, you make a brave, selfless and extraordinary effort to save the vulnerable children in Nigeria. Few people know how dangerous a mission it is – but everyone is aware of what it means for the vulnerable children who without help will end up lonely on the streets.”
I will bring this medal of honor to Nigeria and give it to David Emmanuel Umem. Without him I would not be where I am today. He is not only the father of my son. He is my biggest inspiration and my hero! He is the most amazing man and this medal is undisputed because of his extraordinary efforts.”
Heart of the Witchs Path YouTube channel: