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Pleasant Grove Charity Sahbu Rescues and Educates African Children

PLEASANT GROVE, Utah (ABC 4 News) – The work of brave and generous people from Pleasant Grove is the reason two girls from Liberia are reunited with their father.

Zoe and Baby are Liberian girls who were given up by their father in hopes of a better life. Instead the sisters were forced into child labor, selling goods on the streets for money.

Mitch Weight and his wife Bethany live in Pleasant Grove. The couple saw the poverty in Africa when they adopted two boys there last year.

Mitch quickly founded SAHBU, a non-profit organization that helps rescue children from the streets and provides them with food, clothing and education.

“SAHBU stands for bald man and my husband Mitch is tall and very bald,” Bethany said.

The name stuck, but now holds a different meaning for the organization.

Mitch, his brother Jay, and other friends worked with a Liberian locals and a social worker named Lala. Lala showed the men a list of children who have been forced to work the streets.

Zoe and Baby were on the list.

“We just decided we’ve got to help them out,” Jay Weight said.

The men traveled to Liberia in early February to rescue Zoe and Baby and reunite them with their father.

“I was hoping they wouldn’t get too scared,” Jay said. “You could tell they were nervous.”

The girls had been told by locals and Lala that their father would be waiting for them.

The hour and a half journey from the city to Zoe and Baby’s native village in the jungle hit a few snags. The group got a flat tire and one of the girls had motion sickness.

Then the reunion happened.

“They actually saw their dad from the car,” Jeff West, another rescuer, said. “All of a sudden they just changed and were completely happy.”

The groups said by the end of the day the girls were mixing with other children.

SAHBU has paid for Zoe and Baby’s education, their uniforms and school supplies. They have also donated money to help improve school conditions.

Bethany said most children in Liberia want to get an education.

“I think our children here in the United States take [school] for granted,” Bethany said.

She said one child went to her husband and told him he was saving money to buy a notebook.

She said stories like those make them want to go back and help more children. Her husband Mitch is still in Liberia finalizing paperwork. He is expected to return to Utah on Saturday.

SAHBU is already planning their next rescue mission for May.

For more information on how you can help SAHBU visit their website here.

Sahbu to Attempt Rescue of Two Liberian Girls from Slavery

PLEASANT GROVE, Utah, Jan. 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Sahbu, will attempt its first-ever rescue mission to release two children from captivity-forced labor in Monrovia, Liberia, at the end of the month. Mitch Weight , founder of Sahbu, will travel with colleagues to Liberia on January 30 with the resources necessary to have Zoe (age 6) and her sister Baby (age 5)  released from an enslaved life of hard labor. Strategy and tact are in the honing stage, as this much anticipated mission is only a week away.

Mr. Weight learned of these two young girls on a trip to Liberia last October. He met many children, including Zoe and Baby that are currently enslaved, and is determined to rescue them. Since that trip, he has been working with social services in Liberia, developing a plan to return these girls to their family and to provide them with scholarships for school – hoping also to establish a process to rescue additional enslaved children.

Slavery is a massive human rights issue in the western region of Africa, specifically in countries like Liberia, Sierra Leone, andMauritania. Although slavery is highly illegal in these countries, it is practiced everyday. The most common individuals found enslaved are children under the age of 18 who make up 40 to 50 percent of all forced labor victims in Africa. Human trafficking and slavery is the second most committed criminal offense in the world today, just behind drug trafficking. Sahbu’s goal is to provide food, shelter, education and opportunity for Liberian children who have been subjected to a difficult life in the war-torn country.

“I’ve never rescued an enslaved child before, but I know how to contact them, how to get social services involved and how to get them enrolled in school once we’ve reunited them with their parents,” said Mitch Weight , founder of Sahbu. “Knowing that I have the ability and that the cost of it all will be minimal in the grand scheme of things, I can’t not rescue them. This rescue will change their lives and the lives of their future children, and I’m thrilled at the opportunity to be involved in that!”

Sahbu is dedicated to improving the lives of children in Liberia. The nonprofit provides food, education, and mental health services to children in need. The organization rescues children from forced labor and prostitution, and strives to help Liberian children receive the education necessary to have a normal and productive life. This trip is one of many planned for 2013.

About Sahbu:
Sahbu rescues children from the war-torn streets of Liberia, West Africa. The nonprofit provides education, food and clothing to children that are living in squalor, so they can break out of the poverty cycle, improving their lives, and the lives of others. Sahbu has pledged to provide opportunity through education for as many Liberian children as possible, with funds that are donated through Virtel Marketing, a Utah-based lead generation company, individual donors, and corporate giving.

Contact:
801-753-8381
mitch@sahbu.org

Photos:
http://www.prlog.org/12062355

 

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