A young Nigerian boy who was once left for dead has now recovered from months of neglect and malnutrition.
In January 2016, A Danish woman named Anja Ringgren Lovén found a boy wandering the streets naked. She decided to name him Hope.
According to the DailyMail, the thin little boy was found “riddled with worms after being forced to live off scraps thrown to him by passersby for eight months.”
A photo of Lovén kneeling down to offer water to Hope soon surfaced on the internet and caused a news media frenzy. Distant viewers were showering concerns and sympathy to the hungry-stricken child, in hopes that he would find the love and attention every child deserves.
Lovén, who is the founder of African Children’s Aid Education and Development Foundation, says that Hope was left on the streets by his family. Like many other southern Nigerian children, he was labeled as a “witch,” and therefore abandoned by his mother.
The superstition of witchcraft runs deep within the Akwa Ibom state of Nigeria, CNN reported in 2010. For many natives, they sometimes believe that their own family members are casting spells on them, especially their children.
Many sons and daughters have been physically abused, buried alive, or put to death because of these fearful accusations. Yet, some do survive, and Hope was one of those children.
When Lovén saw how horrible his physical state was, she decided to take matters into her own hands. A couple of days of medical attention and daily meals sent Hope on his way to being a healthy toddler again.
Donations from all around the world were sent to Lovén to help cover medical costs. Lovén and her husband, who also run a children’s shelter, received nearly $1 million, which she said would be used to “build a doctor clinic … and save many more children out of torture!”
Now, one year later, Lovén has given the world an update on Hope’s present-day condition. On her Facebook page Monday, the humanitarian shared a post that has now reached over 25,000 likes and more than 5,000 shares.
The side by side photos show Lovén and Hope in the same pose, but with different outlooks. One image depicts a withered little boy drinking from the bottle of a concerned woman, while the other shows a healthy toddler drinking from the bottle of a happy woman.
In her brief message, she mentions how the child who was once a viral sensation is now finally starting school, after just one year of a rescue mission that started with her, her husband, and their Nigerian team. Following Hope’s recovery, Lovén and her team moved him into their children’s home in Uyo, Nigeria and still pays him comforting visits.
As of November 2016, ACAEDF has been working on the construction of another children’s center, which will be equipped with a health clinic, library, vocational building, and many other perks. They’ve decided to name this new property “Land of Hope.”
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