IMPACT
04/01/2016 05:34 pm ET

Child Abandoned And Accused Of Witchcraft Makes Extraordinary Recovery

“Where there is love, there is life.”

Hope, a young boy in Nigeria, has made an astonishing recovery just months after he was found starving in the street, and a photo of him went viral.

Anja Ringgren Lovén, the aid worker who helped him, posted photos of the toddler looking happy and healthy, in stark contrast to his condition two months ago

via Anja Ringgren Loven

Hope had been abandoned by his family after being accused of witchcraft. Lovén, founder of the African Children’s Aid Education and Development Foundation, gave him food and water and brought him to a hospital.

When she shared a photo of the child, the post went viral, garnering 20,000 likes, thousands of comments and hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations.

“Thousands of children are being accused of being witches and we’ve both seen torture of children, dead children and frightened children,” Lovén said in a Facebook post in January. “This shows why I fight. Why I sold everything I own. Why I’m moving out in uncharted territory.”

Now Hope spends his days playing with the other children at Loven’s orphanage, which helps children accused of witchcraft by providing them with housing, healthcare, food and education.

“As you can see on the pictures Hope is really enjoying his life now having 35 new brothers and sisters,” Lovén said in a post. “[They] 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.”

The young boy still has a health condition called hypospadias, according to a recent post. It is a common condition that affects the urethra and it can be easily repaired, according to the Mayo Clinic. Hope is going into surgery this week.

Hope’s story has inspired people worldwide. Most recently, a Norwegian man started a campaign calling for people to post photos to Facebook with messages of hope, for Hope. Submissions have poured in from Norway to New York. 

“This greeting is meant especially for the little boy, Hope,” the campaign’s message reads. “It’s also a greeting to ALL children in the world, with hope that they will live a safe and meaningful life full of love, joy and happiness.”

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