The Danish aid worker who saved a starving Nigerian boy from certain death after his family disowned him for being a witch has shared a photo revealing his miraculous recovery just one year later.
Anja Lovén, founder of African Children's Aid Education and Development Foundation, shared a photo recreating the heartbreaking snapshot of her standing on a dirt road, giving water to an emaciated little boy holding a few pieces of cracker in one hand.
This time, however, the image looks vastly different.
The little boy, now chubby and healthy, carries a small backpack and wears a checkered, button-up shirt, red pants and white sneakers - and is on his way to the first day of school.
"A rescue mission that went viral, and today it's exactly 1 year ago the world came to know a young little boy called Hope," Lovén captioned the photo.
Since the photo was posted on January 30, it has been "liked" over 34,000 times and shared another 8,000 times.
As earlier reported, Lovén first saw the toddler walking, naked and alone, through the dusty streets of Uyo in south-east Nigeria one year ago.
Believing he was a witch, the child's parents had abandoned him eight months prior, leaving him weak, malnourished, and riddled with worms. Moved with compassion, Anja, who has a young son with her husband, David, took the child under her wing and gave him a powerful name: Hope.
"I was so sick to my bones to see a two-year-old boy in such a horrible condition," Anja told the Daily Mail."When we first entered the village I looked over my shoulders and slowly turned around to see Hope sitting on the side of the road. I thought I was going to see a bigger boy but when I saw he was the size of a little baby, my whole body froze."
She added, "I became a mother myself 20 months ago and I was thinking of my own son when I saw Hope."
The child was taken to hospital the same day, where he was given medication to get rid of the worms in his stomach and daily blood transfusions to raise the number of red blood cells in his body.
"He got the best treatment we could give him, and everyday my team and I was hoping that he would survive... Very quickly we discovered that Hope was a very strong boy. A little fighter," she recalled. "A few days after we rescued him, my husband David and I brought our son along to the hospital. This was the first time we saw a smile on Hope's face."
Today, Hope lives at a home run by the Lovéns dedicated to helping "witch children" and is healthy and thriving - and like any little boy, loves playing football.
"Hope is like a son to me," she said. "Like the rest of our children I love him more than words can describe."
Hope's story has touched hearts around the world, and Lovén revealed that her organization received $1 million in donations over the past few months.
"My team and I are so overwhelmed by all the love we are receiving from all over the world," she said. "This is something we have never dared to dream about. We have been fighting this superstition for many years and finally the whole world is looking at the important work we are doing.'
It is not yet clear what made the parents of the boy believe that he was a witch; however, the United Nations Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has warned that a growing number of adults and children were being accused of witchcraft in different parts of Africa, leading to killings and shunning.
UNICEF said that those most at risk were boys who displayed a "solitary temperament, physical deformities or conditions such as autism."
"Many social and economic pressures, including conflict, poverty, urbanization and the weakening of communities, or HIV/AIDS, seem to have contributed to the recent increase in witchcraft accusations against children,"
UNICEF Regional Child Protection Adviser Joachim Theis said. "Child witchcraft accusations are part of a rising tide of child abuse, violence and neglect, and they are manifestations of deeper social problems affecting society."