When Anja Ringgren Loven, on Sunday, January 31, 2016, rescued Hope, the two-year-old boy she found on the streets of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State in Nigeria, in her usual call of philanthropic duty, little did she know that it would earn her worldwide acclaim in December.
Lo and behold, from a compilation carried out by a German Magazine ‘OOOM’, Anja, founder of the African Children's Aid Education and Development Foundation (ACAEDF), a Danish woman married to a Nigerian, topped the list of 100 inspiring individuals in 2016, beating Barack Obama, Pope Francis and Leonardo DiCaprio.
The publication was made public on December 6, 2016.
Hope (the name gave the boy by Anja) was abandoned by his family because they claimed he was a 'witch'. Left to die, the little boy wandered the streets of Uyo, naked, emaciated and worm-riddled. But for the rescue effort of Anja and her team, Hope may never have experienced good in his lifetime.
A picture of Anja giving the boy water and biscuits so broke the hearts of many people around the world that, in two days, her request for a donation towards the recovery of Hope yielded 1 million Dollars.
Among his several medical treatments, Hope had to undergo a surgery for a genital birth defect, known as hypospadias, which simply means having the urethra emerge somewhere on the shaft or even the base of the penis, instead of the tip. Soon after the treatments, he started recovering and growing faster, healthier and happier in Anja’s home, alongside 35 other girls and boys.
Georg Kindel, OOOM’s editor-in-chief and leader of the Jury that selected the winners, refers to her as a beacon of hope. “Anja Ringgren Lovén is a beacon of hope and the most inspiring person of the year 2016. When she saw the starving child, she acted like a human being and became an inspiration for millions,” he says.
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While Anja appreciates the honour, she has been quick to mention her husband, David Emmanuel Umem, and all her team members, numbering 28, as deserving of the number one position going by their effort in the humanitarian work being carried out in the South-South state capital. https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=Anja+Ringgren+Lovén&init=pblic
In May 2016, Anja received the medal of honour by the Danish Government for her brave, selfless and extraordinary effort to save vulnerable children in Nigeria. Anja lives in Nigeria with her husband and Son.
From the list of 100 world’s most inspiring people in 2016 according to OOOM, here are the top 10 listed in order.
1 Anja Ringgren Lovén
2 Barack Obama
3 Charlize Theron
4 Pope Francis
5 Leonardo DiCaprio
6 Dalai Lama
7 Mark Zuckerberg
8 Malala Yousafzai
9 Bob Dylan
10 Elon Musk