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Starving Nigerian ‘Witch Child’ Named Hope Now Thriving After Being Rescued: See the Transformation


In January 2016, an emaciated little boy was found roaming the streets of southern Nigeria. The orphan — naked, riddled with worms and close to death — had been abandoned by his family, who believed he was a witch, and had been living on food scraps for eight months. His rescuer, aid worker Anja Ringgren Loven, shared a heartbreaking photo on Facebook of him sipping from a bottle of water — and the post quickly went viral, garnering thousands of likes and comments. Within two days, Loven’s organization, African Children’s Aid Education and Development Foundation, received more than $150,000 in donations for his care.


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“I have chosen to call the boy Hope for right now, we all hope that he survives,” Loven wrote in Danish on her charity’s Facebook page on February 4. “Hope’s condition is stable now. He’s taking food for himself and he responds to the medicine he gets … He’s a strong little boy.”

Indeed, in just three short months, Hope has made a miraculous recovery and is now a happy, healthy toddler. His favorite activities include playing soccer and spending time with Loven’s 2-year-old son. 

“I was so sick to my bones to see a 2-year-old boy in such a horrible condition,” Loven told Mail Online about the day she first spotted Hope. “When we first entered the village, I looked over my shoulders and slowly turned around to see Hope sitting on the side of the road. I thought he was going to be a bigger boy but when I saw he was the size of a little baby, my whole body froze.”

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Hope, who spent a month in the hospital, where he received daily transfusions to boost his red blood cell count, now lives at a children’s home founded by Loven and her husband, David, in Uyo, Nigeria. “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,” Loven wrote on Facebook. 

She added, “Hope is like a son to me. Like the rest of our children I love him more than words can describe.”

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