Liberian orphans have a champion in their corner
WEST Africa's Ebola crisis may be yesterday's news, but one woman is on a mission to house as many of the thousands of children left orphaned as she can.
Dual Liberian and Australian citizen Lucy Adalyne Leayee has spent the past five years filling shipping containers with used goods to send back to her home country - at a cost of $7000 each time.
Her work is continuing thanks to the help of a benefactor in Maleny.
Almost 5000 Liberians lost their lives to the Ebola virus, leaving behind a sea of orphans as the country struggles to recover.
Lucy (pictured) lived through a civil war and 15 years in a refugee camp before being accepted into Australia.
On a trip back to Liberia a friend showed her the orphans "lying naked in the street", so she adopted six of them and has been supporting them ever since.
That number has turned into 16 and she plans to open an orphanage to care for 150.
Lucy said as one of the lucky Liberians it was her duty to help others. She said: "The Australian Government gave me a new life from taxpayers' money, but not every
one is fortunate enough so I thought, 'I can do something'.
"Giving somebody a smile, you will not believe only $2 can do something so amazing.
"To see the jubilation on their faces, they go wild crazy with happiness.
"It means the world to me."
Lucy has spent five years working eight months of the year as a disability worker in Brisbane, filling up containers with used goods and then flying to Liberia.
She stays there for four months of the year selling the items and using that money to pay for her children's schooling and food for a year.
She took on this task by herself, but one day the general manager of Maleny company Safe Asbestos, Michael Dezan, came across Lucy's story and decided to help.
With his assistance, Lucy now has 16 children and they plan to open an orphanage together to care for 150.
Michael and his wife were so touched by Lucy's story, they have done all the business planning and bought Lucy her next flight home.
"I was overwhelmed that she would be doing this just because it was the right thing to do," Michael said.
"I was quite speechless, she had been doing it by herself for five years with no assistance."