A photo that went viral last year has just been given an update one year on, as internet-famous little boy Hope sets off for his first day at school.
In January last year, a photograph of a starving child being given water from a bottle by a charity worker swept across the internet, gathering shares from all over the world. The young boy, called Hope, was found by Anja Ringgren Loven, a Danish woman living in Africa, after his parents had left him for dead following beliefs that he was a witch.
The then two year old Nigerian boy had been fending for himself on the streets for eight months, whilst feeding off scraps. Loven had found him in a shocking condition, emaciated and riddled with worms. She bent down to the small boy and began feeding him and giving him water from a bottle, before wrapping him in a blanket and taking him straight to the nearest hospital.
At the hospital, Hope was given medication to remove the worms from his stomach, as well as daily blood transfusions to get more red blood cells into his system. Just two days after the aid worker had asked the community to assist with Hope’s expensive medical bills, she had received more than $1 million in donations from all over the world, due to the viral image of her and the young boy. Eight weeks after Hope’s hospital treatments, he was seen to be unrecognisable after gaining healthy weight and playing with other children.
Loven recently posted a photograph which recreates the scene of her feeding Hope water from a bottle now one year on, which again went viral. Hope has made a huge recovery and is now a healthy looking young boy who is setting off to start his education.
Loven wrote in a Facebook post, “On the 30th of January 2016 I went on a rescue mission with David Emmanuel Umem, Nsidibe Orok and our Nigerian team. A rescue mission that went viral, and today it’s exactly one year ago the world came to know a young little boy called Hope. This week Hope will start school.”
Three years ago Loven founded the African Children’s Aid Education and Development Foundation, which is in place to help young children who have been outcast or even killed by members of their own communities after being labelled witches. In her original post which asked for donations to help Hope last year, Loven wrote, “Thousands of children are being accused of being witches and we’ve both seen torture of children, dead children and frightened children”. Which was followed by another post just two months after his rescue which said, “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.”
Loven’s children’s centre is run with her husband, David Emmanuel Umem, which was built in January last year. They provide medical care, food and schooling for the children that they have saved, through the help of donations. They have since gathered a huge following on their social media account since the viral photo of young Hope, and share regular updates on their progress with children in their care.