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Nigerian 'witch' toddler transformed after aid worker rescue

PICTURE OF HEALTH: Hope with a care worker

TWO MONTHS since his rescue, the Nigerian toddler accused of witchcraft and abandoned by his family, has shown his remarkable recovery in new images shared by his rescuers.

Heart-breaking photos of Danish aid worker Anja Ringgren Lovén and a severely malnourished two-year-old hit the internet in January and prompted a flood of donations for the then unnamed boy.

Since his rescue, the little boy, aptly named Hope, has made an incredible recovery, gained weight, and has found a home amongst new siblings.

In an update on her Facebook page, Lovén informed Hope’s supporters the boy was due to undergo corrective surgery to treat hypospadias, “a genital birth defect where the urethra emerges somewhere on the shaft or at the base of the penis, rather than at the tip.”

SAVED: Danish aid worker Anja Ringgren Lovén minutes after finding hope abandoned on the street

The surgery is expected to take place next week, but “this is an operation the doctors have performed many times, so [he] will be fine”, Lovén said.

“As you can see on the pictures Hope is really enjoying his life now having 35 new brothers and sisters who ALL 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,” she added.

The aid worker, alongside her Nigerian husband David Emmanuel Umem, founded African Children’s Aid Education and Development Foundation, an organisation based in Uyo that helps impoverished or neglected children.

The couple also started building their own orphanage at the end of January.

After rescuing Hope, she wrote on the organisation’s website: “I have seen much here in Nigeria over the last three years. I’ve spared you many experiences when we’ve been on rescue missions.

“Thousands of children are being accused of being witches, and we’ve seen the torture of children, frightened children and dead children.

“The images here show why I am fighting, why I sold everything I own.”

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