Woman who rescues 'witch children' voted world's most inspirational person

A 2-year-old Nigerian boy who was abandoned by his family receives a bath from aid workers.

Story highlights

  • Danish aid worker tops international list of world's most influential people
  • Belief in witchcraft thrives worldwide, with reports of abuses from places as removed as Gambia and Nepal
  • "Poverty is actually a twin sister to ignorance," says worker in local group that rescues such children

Lagos, Nigeria (CNN)Danish aid worker Anja Ringgren Loven has been recognized as the most influential person in the world for her efforts to help abandoned children accused of being witches in Nigeria.

Loven topped an international list of 100 inspiring individuals compiled by German-language Ooom Magazine, beating Barack Obama, Pope Francis and the Dalai Lama.
Earlier this year, the Loven spotted a desperately emaciated 2-year-old boy who could barely stand as he thirstily gulped water from a bottle.
    The boy was abandoned by his family, who accused him of being a witch, according to Loven who found him in Uyo, southeast Nigeria.
    The aid worker says the boy, whom she calls Hope, had been living on the streets and survived on scraps from passersby.
    When she found him, she says, he was riddled with worms and had to have daily blood transfusions to revive him.
    "Thousands of children are being accused of being witches and we've both seen torture of children, dead children and frightened children," she wrote in Danish on Facebook, as she appealed for funds to pay for food, medical bills and schooling.
    Loven is the founder of African Children'