A starving child who was accused of witchcraft and abandoned by his family has made an astonishing recovery after being rescued by a humanitarian aid worker.
Heartbreaking images were shared on social media of the Nigerian toddler, named Hope, who was found severely emaciated and wandering alone after being shunned by his family and society.
Now Hope, who is believed to be between two and three years old, is unrecognisable in pictures shared by Anja Ringgren Lovén, the founder of the African Children’s Aid Education and Development Foundation (ACAEDF).
Back in January, Ms Loven found the boy after he spent eight months fending for himself and living off scraps.
She bent down and gently began feeding him and giving him water from a bottle. She then wrapped up the disorientated toddler in a blanket and took him to the nearest hospital for treatment.
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, Ms Loven said.
And two days after the aid worker asked for the community’s help with Hope’s costly medical bills, she received $1million in donations from around the world.
Just eight weeks later, Hope is unrecognisable. He has gained weight and has been pictured smiling and playing with other children.
‘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!’ she said.
Ms Loven runs a children’s centre where the youngsters she saves live and receives medical care, food and schooling.
She and her husband, David Emmanuel Umem, began building their own orphanage in late January.