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A formerly homeless man who was addicted to drugs is starting a new life thanks to a chance meeting with a former childhood friend.

The BBC reports Wanja Mwaura, 32, was on her way to a nearby market in Nairobi, Kenya, when a homeless man called out her name. It took her a few moments to realize the emaciated man she was looking at was a former childhood friend. Mwaura and the man, Patrick “Hinga” Wanjiru, met in primary school and continued to attend school together until Wanjiru’s grandmother, who was his guardian, passed away.

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After his grandmother’s death, Wanjiru got involved with heroin, the BBC reports.

Mwaura said she remembered Wanjiru as the bright, soccer-loving kid she grew up with.

“I gave him my mobile telephone number and told him to call me if he needed anything,” Mwaura said.

Wanjiru regularly called Mwaura, borrowing other people’s cell phones to do so. He told her he was committed to getting clean and turning his life around.

“I decided then that something needed to be done to help him,” Mwaura told the BBC.

She started a crowd funding page to raise money for Wanjiru’s rehab treatment. She only raised a fraction of what it cost for treatment, but she took him to the center anyway.

She shared photos of Wanjiru’s progress to her Facebook page.

“A week ago Hinga and I couldn’t hold a normal conversation without me trying to hold his head up with my hand in order for him to concentrate,” Mwaura wrote on Facebook. “Today we can have a normal conversation with him confidently looking at me.”

Soon the photos spread around social media. Because of increased coverage of the story in the Kenyan media, the Chiromo Lane Medical Center decided to waive all of Wanjiru’s treatment fees.

Now, Mwaura is raising funds for a 90-day treatment program for Wanjiru. If you would like to donate click here.

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