NIGERIA — A two-year old boy who was abandoned by his family after being accused of being a witch was recently rescued from death by a Danish aid worker, and online photos of the child’s plight have prompted nearly $150,000 dollars in donations toward his medical fees.
The child, who has now been named Hope, was found walking the streets of Nigeria last month naked, emaciated and full of parasites. Passersby threw scraps of food at the boy for the eight months that he wandered abandoned and alone.
Anja Ringgren Loven, the founder of the African Children’s Aid Education and Development Foundation, which exists to help neglected children, found Hope on the street and offered him water to drink.
“Thousands of children are being accused of being witches,” she wrote on Facebook on Jan. 31 in providing photographs of the moment she found the child. “[W]e’ve both seen torture of children, dead children and frightened children.”
Loven wrapped Hope in a blanket and took him to the hospital, where he was given a blood transfusion and medication to help rid his body of worms. Days later, she posted a report on the boy’s progress.
“Hope’s condition is stable now. He’s taking food for himself and he responds to the medicine he gets,” Loven outlined. “He gets blood transfusion every day so he can receive red blood cells. He has many worms in his stool. The worms [are] giving him some pain.”
The aid worker also shared photographs of her own son playing with Hope, and pictures of the boy smiling.
“He is a strong little boy. To see him sit and play with my own son is without a doubt the greatest experience of my life,” Loven wrote. “I simply do not know how to describe it in words. This is what makes life so beautiful and valuable and I will let the pictures here speak for themselves.”
When Loven first posted photographs of Hope and requested donations toward his care, within two days she received over $147,000—which she now says can also be used to help build a medical clinic.
“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 wrote in a recent update. “It’s just so great!”