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Nigerian 'witch' toddler makes amazing recovery after being found starving and riddled with worms

By Mirror | April 1st 2016

The two-year-old, named Hope, broke the hearts of millions after he was pictured being given a sip of water by the charity worker in January

Painfully thin and riddled with worms, Hope was close to death when he was found wandering the streets of Nigeria after being abandoned by his family for 'being a witch'.

The malnourished two-year-old stirred the hearts of millions across the world after he was pictured being given a sip of water by a horrified aid worker in January.

But now, the toddler has made a remarkable recovery after receiving vital hospital treatment and loving care - with the help of $1million (£700,000) in global donations.

He is living at the orphanage of Anja Ringgren Lovén - the charity worker who discovered him walking naked in the streets and gave him the much-needed drink of water.

At the weekend, Ms Lovén, originally form Denmark, shared images of the youngster on Facebook, showing his incredible transformation in just a matter of weeks.

In the snaps, Hope looks completely different - he has gained weight and is seen playing with other children, including Ms Lovén's own son, with a beam on his face.

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He is said to be 'really enjoying' his life and receiving a 'lot of love' from those around him.

Ms Lovén told her Facebook followers: "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."

The aid worker runs the African Children's Aid Education and Development Foundation, which helps children who suffer unimaginable cruelty after being branded 'witches'.

The youngsters are neglected and even killed by the members of their community.

Ms Lovén was walking through the streets on January 31 when she discovered Hope in an emaciated state and bent down to give him a drink from her water bottle.

Her kind action was captured on camera and posted online, where it made headlines and shocked millions across the world.

The charity worker then scooped up the little boy, before wrapping him in a blanket, and taking him to the nearest hospital.

There, he underwent a series of life-saving treatments, including blood transfusions and medication to remove worms from his stomach.

At the time, Ms Lovén feared the youngster - who had been living off scraps thrown to him by passersby - would not survive.

She called him Hope so that, in the worst case scenario, he would die with a name and 'with dignity'.

She wrote on Facebook earlier this month: "The day I carried this sweet little boy in my arms for the very first time I was so sure he would not survive.

"Every breath he took was a struggle and I did not want him to die without a name, without dignity, so I named him Hope."

She added: "Hope to me is a special name.

"Not only the meaning of Hope, but what it stands for. Many years ago I got the name HOPE tattooed on my fingers because to me it means: Help One Person Everyday."

Despite Hope's amazing recovery, he still needs further surgery to treat his hypospadias - a birth defect where a male's urethra does not open where it should, at the head of the penis.

Ms Lovén explained in her latest social media post: "Hypospadias is an inborn condition in which one has an incomplete developed urethra...

"The doctors found this inborn condition on Hope, so next week Hope will have surgery."

However, she assured Hope's followers that the operation has been performed by doctors 'many times', so the youngster will be 'very fine'.

Ms Lovén is now appealing for donations to her foundation to save the lives of more abandoned and malnourished children, like Hope.

"Thousands of children are being accused of being witches and we've both seen torture of children, dead children and frightened children," she said.

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