Land of Hope is a non-profit organization working with children in Nigeria. With a message of hope, learn how they’re using Spreadshop to raise funds and awareness for their NGO.
Content warning: Child abuse
Hi Anja, thanks for talking with us! We’re interested in learning more about your journey to Spreadshop via your organization Land of Hope. Can you start by telling us more about Land of Hope and the type of work you do with the children?
We save innocent children, accused of witchcraft, from exclusion, torture and death. With care, protection and education for the children and by educating their surrounding communities, we lay the foundation for a future, where children grow up to be independent, active and social individuals who contribute to the development of their community.
What we do is about so much more than saving Nigeria’s witch children. It’s about strengthening the position of small communities in the face of a neglecting government. It’s about bringing education to some of the poorest communities in the world.
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I just talked to @davidumem on phone and I just cut the call to share this news with you 😀 Because David just spoke with Victory on phone!! I mean, SPOKE with him !! 😱❤️ Victory has started talking 😱😃❤️ not totally clear but he can pronounce small words. This was the conversation 📞 David: “Hello Victory. How are you ?” Victory: “I am fine” David: “After hospital would you like to come with me to Land of Hope ?” Victory: “Yes I will” David: “Do you know your name is Victory ?” Victory: “Yes I know” David was so excited to tell me!! And I was like whaaaaaat 😱😱😱😱 This is such an amazing development. Thank you to all the doctors, Land of Hope nurse Itoro Gregory and male carer, Aniete. You guys are heroes !! ❤️❤️❤️ The Land of Hope flag is up showing Victory the way home🌱 #landofhope #childsrights #humanity #flag #love #hope #care #compassion #childrennotwitches #justice #unitedagainstsuperstition #victory #survival #wherethereislovethereislife #nigeria #africa
It sounds like you have a wonderful and multi-faceted mission. What’s the message behind Land of Hope?
Land of Hope is a story of passion and the will to fight for children. It’s a story of an unyielding belief that given patience and trust, anybody can have a positive impact on their community. It is a story of a fierce fight against superstitions and the sometimes horrifying consequences. And of course, it is, above all, a story of hope.
Our efforts center around education and enlightenment concerning children’s rights and the non-existence of witches and demons, so that we may someday reach our ultimate goal: A world where no child suffers due to the superstitions of adults.
Because superstition and belief are connected to culture, what has it been like for you to go into a culture that’s not your own and navigate the belief system there?
Before I travelled to Nigeria, I worked as a humanitarian aid worker in Malawi and Tanzania. So, I gained experience navigating different cultures. But because superstition is a growing problem in Nigeria I was surprised to learn that thousands of children were stigmatized every year as witches.
The stigmatization of children as witches is a recent phenomenon in the Niger Delta region, which suddenly exploded in the 1990s. Before that, elderly women were the main targets of witchcraft accusations.
By 2008, it was estimated that 15,000 children had been branded in the southeastern states of Akwa Ibom and Cross Rivers. According to research from that period, cases that had been documented included children and babies who had had nails driven into their heads, been forced to drink cement, set on fire, scarred by acid, poisoned, and even buried alive.
A separate 2010 UNICEF report notes, it is typically vulnerable children with physical disabilities, or illnesses such as epilepsy, who are targeted. Others are branded for appearing withdrawn, lazy, or unruly.
After eight years now of working in Nigeria, I have learned a lot about the local culture, and I have spent countless hours in the local communities to try and understand the superstition. My team and I use a lot of our time developing advocacy projects. It is our responsibility to meet the villagers and create a platform of communication. David, my Nigerian husband, has been very active in implementing our advocacy strategies in the local communities for more than 10 years now. I have been a part of the advocacy work for eight years and it has made a huge impact in some of the local areas. Before we established our NGO some of these areas were very hostile and known for killing a lot of children because of superstition, but due to our presence and advocacy work these areas are now more tolerant.
How do you raise funds for Land of Hope? Has your Spreadshop helped you do this?
We raise funds through lectures with me (Anja), fundraising, crowdfunding, fixed monthly donations from private individuals and companies, membership fees, corporate sponsors, merchandise (Spreadshop) and auctioning of sponsored items. The funds give us a strong financial foundation and strengthen our work eliminating the roots that superstition thrives on.
When people buy our merchandise on our Spreadshop, they not only support us financially, but at the same time, they also create awareness about our important work by showcasing our name and logo. They become part of Land of Hope and united against superstition which is essential for our global community. Spreadshop has made that possible because we do not have the means to handle merchandise on this level ourselves.
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Finally !! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 Now you can buy Land of Hope sweatshirts and t-shirts and support our children in Nigeria 💚 You can buy the sweatshirts and t-shirts in different colors and in all sizes, both for children and adults 💚💙💓🤍❤️ We ship worldwide 🚀📦🌍 David Jr. is wearing size 122/128 because he likes his clothing a little oversize. Buy our Land of Hope clothing: Link in bio ⬆️ I would love to receive pictures of you and your kids wearing our Land of Hope clothing 📸🖤💚💙💓🤍❤️ #support #landofhope #merchandise #childrights #childrennotwitches #hope #love #africa #nigeria #humanity #sweatshirts #tshirts #davidjr #son #family #unconditionallove
We’re so impressed and thrilled your Spreadshop has helped you in these efforts. Why did you choose Spreadshop?
We chose Spreadshop because we were looking for an online platform with a variety of top quality and unique designs that could be sold to the whole world, reaching all of our followers. Also, we chose Spreadshop because they value fair production, transparency and sound working conditions. Therefore, we are proud to team up with Spreadshop because they live by the same values as Land of Hope.
How do you spread the word about your organization? With social media or other (marketing) channels?
Primarily, we use social media to spread the word about our work because it allows us to reach thousands of people at any given moment. On Facebook, I ( Anja ), the founder of Land of Hope, have more than 444,000 followers and the organizations page has around 107,000 followers. On Instagram, we also have more than 170,000 followers. We use social media across all of our work at Land of Hope, to raise awareness, ask people to donate, become a member, support us and share information about our work in Nigeria.
Our work has also been the subject of several Danish documentaries, including Anja & the Witch Children, which was shown internationally in English and Danish on National Geographic.
Do you get any feedback from your followers? What do people think about your mission?
Over the years, we have created a well-established online presence and therefore, we also have a highly engaged and loyal audience who shares our core values, believe in our work and are committed to advocate for our mission and vision.
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I want to Thank all of you who support Land of Hope by buying our clothing. I have received so many pictures from you from all over the world. And I can only share 10 pictures here on Instagram. Please visit my page on facebook to see more pictures. You all look so amazing in your Land of Hope t-shirts and sweatshirts designed with our new logo and symbols. The clothing line have become very popular because, not only is our new design very beautiful and unique, when you buy Land of Hope clothing, you are supporting our children in Nigeria. I’m so proud of our Land of Hope World family 🌍 Do you want to join us ? Link in my bio to where you can buy your Land of Hope gear 💚💙🧡💗Spot me among the pics to see my favorite color. #landofhope #clothing #support #unitedagainstsuperstition #hope #tshirt #sweatshirt #unity #worldfamily #childrensrights #africa #nigeria #compassion #love
It sounds like you’ve got a lot happening. Out of curiosity, do you have any more upcoming projects?
Every month we carry out a lot of advocacy projects where we train the local villagers to strengthen the position of the small communities in relation to the government, which is ultimately responsible for educating the population. We can only have peace of mind when people in very remote village with no degrees, no wealthy family connections, and no financial influence, have access to education, health care and social protection.
Since pneumonia is the number one cause of death in Nigeria among children aged 0-5 years old, we have also bought 15,000 pneumonia vaccines. So, we are going to give out free pneumonia vaccines to thousands of children. Our aim is to eradicate pneumonia, known as the silent killer in Africa.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to use their Spreadshop for a good cause?
With a Spreadshirt platform, you can easily create something beautiful and unique, that your supporters will love and be proud to wear – just go for it.
Thanks for chatting with us, Anja!