Photographs of a little boy known as Hope broke the world’s hearts last year after a Danish charity worker found him emaciated, riddled with worms and on the edge of death in the streets of Nigeria after being abandoned by his parents on claims that the little child was a witch.
The moment was captured in a haunting photograph, in which the worker, Anja Ringgren Lovén, tilts a water bottle toward the terribly frail boy’s lips. Having made a miraculous recovery, the now very healthy-looking little guy set off to embark on his education in a strapping red outfit.
Last year when the little boy was found, he was just two years old. Hope was abandoned by his parents because they thought he was a witch, fortunately for him, he was found in the streets by Anja who works for an organisation called DINNødhjælp (‘your relief’) in January 2016.Almost a year on to the day, she posted amazing before and after photographs of her holding a water bottle up to the boy’s mouth and the difference is incredibly amazing.
In an emotional Facebook post, Anja wrote, ‘On the 30th of January 2016 I went on a rescue mission with David Emmanuel Umem, Nsidibe Orok and our Nigerian team. A rescue mission that went viral, and today it’s exactly one year ago the world came to know a young little boy called Hope. This week Hope will start school.’
Last year in early January when Anja found the little boy, he was in an inexplicably terrible state after he spent eight months fending for himself and living off scraps in the streets. She bent down and gently began feeding him and giving him water from a bottle before wrapping the disorientated toddler in a blanket and rushing him to the nearest hospital for treatment.
Anja revealed that when Hope reached the hospital, he was given medication to remove the worms from his stomach and daily blood transfusions to incorporate more red blood cells into his body. Just two days after the aid worker asked for the community’s help with Hope’s costly medical bills, she received more than $1million in donations from all around the world.
Anja is the founder of African Children’s Aid Education and Development Foundation, which she created three years ago to help children who have been labelled witches and therefore neglected or even killed by the members of their community.
She said, “Thousands of children are being accused of being witches and we’ve both seen torture of children, dead children and frightened children,’ she wrote on Facebook, accompanying images of her feeding the young boy and appealing for donations to help pay for his medical bills in January. With all the money, we can, besides giving Hope the very best treatment, now also build a doctor clinic on the new land and save many more children out of torture.”
Anja also runs a children’s centre where all the kids she saves live and receive medical care, food and schooling. She and her husband, David Emmanuel Umem, began building their own orphanage in late January last year. The couple often keeps the public up to speed with their progress through posts on social media.