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