The starving boy whose photo went viral after he was accused of witchery and abandoned is now a totally different person.
Hope is a young boy who was just a few years old when his family abandoned him after he was accused of being a witch due to superstitious beliefs rooted deeply in his poor community in Nigeria.
While the severely malnourished tot was on the brink of death when he was found by Anja Ringgren Lovén of the not-for-profit organization known as Land of Hope, he now looks like a happy child thanks to his rescuers.
“Hope was in a terrible condition when we rescued him. He was seriously malnourished and had multiple diseases and the first two weeks he was hospitalized he was in a critical condition. We didn’t know if he would survive or not,” Lovén recalled.
In the years following his rescue, Hope, who is now believed to be 6 or 7 years old, was provided with love, healthcare, and education that every child deserves. He now looks happy and is able to smile at the old photo of him drinking water from the bottle provided by Anja.
“Hope is very healthy and loves to go to school. He is very intelligent and his passion is art and to be creative,” Lovén, the founder of Land of Hope, added. “He is extremely talented at art and many of his paintings have even been sold. We call him our little Picasso.”
According to the organization, the staff was never able to identify the boy’s biological parents and relatives.
Despite everything that has happened to him, Hope is now capable of looking at the old photos of him with a smile on his face.
“He will often point at it and smile as if he is proud. But I know it’s not about pride. Children are born with the ability to forgive,” Anja expressed.
“Children are born with no prejudices. It is when children are taught what to think and not how to think, we fail as a society.
“Do we raise Hope to hate his parents that abandoned him, accused him of being a witch and left him alone on the street to die? No, of course not. Superstition is caused by a lack of structural education, extreme poverty, religious fanaticism and corruption.
“No society can develop if its people are deprived of basic human rights such as access to education, health care, and social protection.”
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