In January 2016, an emaciated little boy was found roaming the streets of southern Nigeria. The orphan — naked, riddled with worms and close to death — had been abandoned by his family, who believed he was a witch, and had been living on food scraps for eight months.
His rescuer, aid worker Anja Ringgren Loven, shared a heartbreaking photo on Facebook of the 10-pound 2-year-old sipping from a bottle of water, and the post quickly went viral, garnering thousands of likes and comments.
Naked, emaciated and clutching a handful of rubbish, the future looked bleak for the little boy, who had been forced to live on scraps after being shunned by his family and society.
Lovén, the founder of the African Children’s Aid Education and Development Foundation (ACAEDF) renamed him Hope and welcomed him to her orphanage, where he was treated for worms and a minor birth defect.
I have chosen to call the boy Hope for right now,” Loven wrote on her charity’s Facebook page in February 2016. “We all hope that he survives.”
Just one year later, Hope is thriving: On Tuesday, January 31, the happy, healthy toddler embarked on his first day of school. And to celebrate the milestone, Loven re-created the iconic image of her, encouraging him to drink from a bottle of water. The difference between the two pictures, taken 13 months apart, is remarkable.