A two-year-old Nigerian boy who was found emaciated and riddled with worms after his family left him for dead has made an incredible recovery.
A picture of the starving toddler being given a sip of water by an aid worker broke hearts around the world when it was published in January.
The boy, now called Hope, was abandoned by his family because they thought he was a witch and was found in the streets by Anja Ringgren Loven, a Danish woman living in Africa, on January 31.
And now Ms Loven has shared a series of photographs showing Hope’s miraculous recovery in just eight short weeks, and says he ‘is really enjoying life now’.
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.
Ms Loven uploaded new photos of Hope on Saturday, and wrote: ‘As you can see on the pictures, Hope is really enjoying his life now having 35 new brothers and sisters 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.’
But she explained Hope has hypospadias, a genital birth defect meaning the urethra emerges somewhere on the shaft or even the base of the penis, instead of at the tip.
She added: ‘The doctors found this inborn condition on Hope, so next week Hope will have surgery.
‘This is an operation the doctors have performed many times, so Hope will be very fine.’
Ms Loven 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.
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.