Nigerian 'witch child' makes incredible recovery after being left for dead by his family

By Litaletu Zidepa
01 April 2016

People the world over were outraged at a series of images of a Danish aid worker feeding a heartbreakingly ill child, who had been abandoned by his family for being a “witch” in Nigeria.

This photo generated outrage all over the world. PHOTO: Facebook This photo generated outrage all over the world. PHOTO: Facebook

The boy, who has since been named Hope, had been roaming the streets naked for eight months, starving and riddled with worms because he was thought to be a witch by his family and community.

But now, the two-year-old has made a staggering recovery and “enjoying life”, says the aid worker who found him.

Read more: The heartrending story of the ‘forgotten boy’ who lives at a Chinese nursery school

In the pictures shared by Anja Ringgren Loven, founder of the African Children's Aid Education and Development Foundation, the toddler can be seen full of smiles and looking much healthier than the first time the two met, a full transformation that happened in just eight weeks.

According to The Telegraph, when Anja found the emaciated toddler on 31 January, she gave him water, wrapped him in a blanket and took him to the nearest hospital.

Just two days later, the little boy was already responding well to the love and treatment.

Chubby cheeked and smiling, Hope has found a home. PHOTO: Facebook Pictured here eight weeks after Anja found him, Hope is chubby cheeked and smiling. PHOTO: Facebook

“He’s taking food for himself, and he responds to the medicine he gets," Anja wrote on her blog. "Today he has had powers to sit up and smiling at us. He’s a strong little boy.

“To see him sit and play with my own son is without doubt the greatest experience of my life! I just don’t know how to describe it in words.”

When she shared the images showing how she found Hope on social media, people all over the world were so horrified by the sight of little Hope’s sickly body, donations came pouring in to help pay the bills for his hospitalisation.

12803229_10154009372673024_652734060593961101_n Hope still has to have surgery for a genital birth defect. PHOTO: Facebook

“The treatment was intensive from medicine to remove the worms to daily blood transfusions to boost the number of red blood cells in his body,” Anja said.

She also revealed little Hope was due to undergo surgery next week to treat hypospadias – a genital birth defect where urethra emerges somewhere else in the penis, instead of the tip.

“This is an operation the doctors have performed many times, so [he] will be fine,” the Danish philanthropist assured Hope’s supporters.

Anja with the children she cares for. PHOTO: Facebook Anja with the children she cares for. PHOTO: Facebook

“As you can see on the pictures Hope is really enjoying his life now having 35 new brothers and sisters [the other children she looks after in Uyo, southern Nigeria] who ALL take such good care of him, play with him, study with him, and make sure he is safe and is getting a lot of love,” she added.

Hope and his new "brothers". PHOTO: Facebook Hope and his new "brothers". PHOTO: Facebook

“Thousands of children are being accused of being witches and we've both seen torture of children, dead children and frightened children,” she shared on her Facebook.

She told MailOnline she plans to use donations to help more children like Hope.

Anja and her husband David Emmanuel Umem started building an orphanage in January this year to help other youngsters.

“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!”

Sources: MailOnline, The Telegraph, The Independent

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