In January 2016, Danish aid worker Anja Ringgren Loven discovered a starving child on the streets of Nigeria. Sick with malnutrition and worms, the 2-year old boy had been wandering the streets for 8 months. His parents left him for dead after the boy was accused of being a witch. It’s a terrible fate that many children suffer in Nigeria, where some religious leaders accuse children of witchcraft in hopes of charging parents for supposed exorcism services. Anja adopted the child and named him Hope. Last year, that moment was captured in a heart-breaking image, in which she tilts a water bottle towards the frail young boy’s lips.
Fast forward one year and Hope, who was riddled with worms and suffered severe malnutrition, has not only made a full recovery, he has also just started school! Have a look below to see how just one year of love and care gave this boy a chance to start over.
Remember the starving, abandoned child found in Nigeria in January 2016?
This is his first day of school, exactly one year after he was rescued by Anja Ringgren Lovén
The boy, named Hope, was left to die by his parents after being accused of ‘witchcraft’
He was taken to the hospital immediately and was treated for malnutrition and stomach worms
Just 8 months after his discovery, he started to gain weight and regain his energy
He even received a fresh haircut to go along with his new lease on life
Hope made a full recovery and is barely recognizable from before
He lives in an orphanage with other children cast out as ‘witches’ by their parents
But really, who could accuse this face of anything evil?
The orphanage, run by Anja Ringgren Lovén and her team, proved to be a loving home for Hope
Anja works for DINNødhjælp (‘your relief’), a Danish volunteer organization active in Nigeria
“All children have rights and those rights must be protected, always,” Anja writes on Facebook
One year of love and care gave Hope a completely fresh start