It is just a little over a year ago that a toddler was rescued from a refuse dump in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, where he had been abandoned by his mother for being a witch.
Anja Ringgren Loven, a Danish charity worker who rescued him went on to clean him up and turned his life around. One year on, Hope, as the three-year-old boy is now called, is pictured here full of joy as he sets off for his first day at school. His photographs were taken after they were posted on the social media.
He was completely emaciated and riddled with worms at the time of his rescue. His recovery since then has been miraculous and is now sufficiently healthy to acquire education.
Anja Ringgren Loven, in a post on her Facebook account said: “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,” she wrote.
Before Hope’s rescue, he had allegedly spent eight months fending for himself and living off scraps. But Loven took him and began feeding him and giving him water from a bottle. She took him to the nearest hospital where he was given medication to remove the worms from his stomach and daily blood transfusions to incorporate more red blood cells into his body.
Her appeal for financial assistance to fund Hope’s costly medical bills brought in more than $1million in donations from around the world. 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 labeled witches and neglected or even killed by the members of their community.
“Thousands of children are being accused of being witches and we’ve seen torture of children, dead children and frightened children,” she said on Facebook.
“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.”