A 22-year-old Rwandan man, often dubbed as the ‘real-life Mowgli,’ has been reintroduced to society while wearing suits to attend school.
Zanziman Ellie was diagnosed with a rare disordered called Microcephaly, a birth defect where a baby’s head is smaller than expected when compared to babies of the same sex and age, according to the Center of Disease Control.
Babies with microcephaly often have significantly smaller brains that might not have developed properly. Causes of the disease have been linked to malnutrition, exposure to toxins and infections. Symptoms include intellectual disability and speech delay which has left Ellie non-verbal.
Experts believe that since he’s from a subtropical East African country teeming with infectious mosquitoes, his mother might have contracted the Zika virus, which led to her son’s birth defect. Mosquitoes are the main spreaders of the Zika virus.
Due to his diagnosis and appearance, Ellie has faced harsh scrutiny and isolation from his community. He sometimes walks 20 miles a day and climbs trees in order to escape the harassment and bullying from native villagers for being “different.” Prior to last year, Ellie had never been to school and spent majority of his time hiking through the jungle of his village in Rwanda feeding off grass and bananas alongside of animals.
“He doesn’t like food. He prefers eating bananas. He doesn’t know anything, he can’t do anything,” his mother, who isn’t named, says in the doccie.
She adds she even resorted to unconventional ways of feeding him. “I always grazed him as an animal,” she said. “He feeds on grass. Everyone knows he’s different.”
“We’ve never seen another person who can graze on the field and rely on pasture,” a neighbour says. “He can survive in the forest,” according to News24.
According to The Sun, He was also denied an education on the basis that he did not have the mental capacity to concentrate in class, and for this reason he was destined to spend his life foraging in the jungle.
In a documentary, Zanziman’s mother told reporters that due to his appearance. Ellie was the target of bullying in the village his entire life, with his peers often calling him abusive names.
Ellie’s mother previously lost five other children before he was born. She said that before his father died, she prayed for her son and have been trouble by the treatment of him by his peers.
“After losing our five children we asked God to at least give us a disabled child, as long as he doesn’t die as early as the previous ones,” Ellie’s mother said.
His mom worried about his chances of survival. But that didn’t stop her from loving him. “When I delivered my son, I knew he was a response from heaven,” she says.
After a few documentaries were posted online bringing attention to a wave of supporters, a Gofundme account was set up by Afrimex TV for Ellie for assistance with his care and advancement his education.
“Let’s help this single mother to raise this child due to the fact that she’s unemployed which makes the family run out of food and forces this young boy to go to the forest and eat grass. Let’s contribute and save this boy and his mother’s life,” the GoFundMe page read.
Ellie has now been enrolled at a school for children with special needs at the Ubumwe Community Center, Gisenyi, Rwanda. He wears customs-made suits to school and interacts with his peers.
Images on the internet show Ellie proudly posing in a well-tailored suit with a smile on his face
Zanziman’s mother said: “God is a miracle worker. He was being ridiculed and I would often run after him. At the moment he is in school with his peers and I am so happy.