The haunting moment was captured in a photograph where a Danish aid worker can be seen tilting a water bottle for the boy.
Trigger Warning: The article contains graphic images that some readers might find disturbing
Nearly four years ago, a very disturbing picture of a toddler surfaced on the internet. It was late January 2016, when a Danish aid worker, who was on a rescue mission, came across a severely malnourished child on the verge of death. The haunting moment was captured in a photograph where she can be seen tilting a water bottle for the boy.
The then-three-year-old was left on the streets of Eket, Nigeria, by his parents to fend for himself, thinking he was a witch. Fortunately, Danish philanthropist Anja Ringgren Loven reached on time to save the life of the innocent boy, reported The Sun. And now, four years later, the boy has made an incredible recovery.
She named him, Hope. "Hope was in a terrible condition when we rescued him. He was seriously malnourished and had multiple diseases. The first two weeks he was hospitalized he was in a critical condition. We didn't know if he would survive or not," she revealed.
Today, the little boy who is 7 years old is thriving and has overcome his traumatic past. All thanks to Anja and her charity called Land of Hope that has helped hundreds of abandoned children over the past eight years.
After the little one was rescued, he was immediately taken to a hospital and was treated for stomach worms. His condition was so bad that he required daily blood transfusions in order to increase the number of red blood cells in his body. He soon began with his education so that he can leave behind as much of his past as he can.
"Hope is very healthy and loves to go to school. He is very intelligent and his passion is an art and to be creative. He is extremely talented at art and many of his paintings have even been sold. We call him our little Picasso," said Anja. The boy's grim beginning hasn't affected his zeal as you can clearly see in his photos. "He will often point at it and smile as if he is proud," added Anja. She is also an ambassador for the Universal Peace Federation International. The charity was not able to track down Hope's parents so he has never met them.
Three years ago, Anja founded African Children's Aid Education and Development Foundation, to help children who have been neglected and tortured by parents because they think they are witches, as per The Daily Mail. "Thousands of children are being accused of being witches and we've both seen torture of children, dead children, and frightened children," she said on the day Hope was rescued.
Two months later, giving an update on the child's condition, she added, "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."
Anja along with her husband, David Emmanuel Umem began the construction of their own orphanage in January, last year. The center aims at providing the children with the care, food, schooling, and most of all, the love they deserve. They have garnered a large following on their Facebook and Instagram pages where they regularly share adorable pictures of the little ones enjoying their new lives.
The Cross River State, Rivers State, and Akwa Ibom State are some of the places where people are known to believe in witches and exorcism. The children here are often accused of being witches after their family suffers the death or illness of a loved one. Crop failures, infertility, and unemployment are also blamed on these innocent souls. Before kids, elderly women were targeted.