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Energy of Hope Orphanage - Faces of Kansas City - Amanda Dye

Faces Of KC: Amanda Dye College Student Starts Orphanage In Africa POSTED: 2:34 pm CST February 11, 2010 UPDATED: 7:22 am CST February 12, 2010

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Editor's Note: KCTV5 is excited to bring you a brand, new venture that will air every Thursday night called, "Faces of Kansas City." Each week, you'll meet extraordinary people who call Kansas City home.

We'd like to introduce you to a young woman who's a student at William Jewell College and what she's learning is having an impact a half a world away.

While many of us were asleep last Saturday, Amanda Dye was at Kansas City International Airport boarding a flight to Africa. She's leaving the United States on a mission that has life-or-death consequences. Her destination is a small village outside of Lusaka, Zambia.

It in Lusaka that the 25-year-old Kansas Citian has an orphanage. It's an orphanage that she started three years ago and is now the legal guardian for 21 African children.

"I thought, if I could just do something," she said. "I know I can't save them all, but why can't I try to save some of them?"

It all began when she was 19. She was shocked at the number of orphaned street children she encountered while on an African mission.

"I couldn't believe they didn't have a place to go at the end of the day," she said. "I couldn't believe they didn't have food to eat."

She returned to the United States determined to make a difference.

"There's many people who say, 'I want to change the world and make a difference.'" said Kevin Shaffstall, Dye's advisor. "Well, Amanda does and she lives it."

Shaffstall said what's even more incredible is that she started the orphanage using only her own money that she earned babysitting and working odd jobs on the Country Club Plaza.

"I was waiting tables and I would try to get as many tips as I could and then send it back to the kids to try to keep them well," she said.

But her money quickly ran out. It takes $50,000 to pay the staff and operate the orphanage for one year.

The children range in age from 5 to 16 years old and Dye said most of them led an incredibly hard life before making it to orphanage. She said some of them were forced into slavery. At the orphanage, called "Energy of Hope," the kids are getting an education, health care and a lot of TLC.

"By giving them the power to make a difference they will be the ones to change their community," she said. "What we're doing here is small compared to what our children will do in their community when they're grown and they have the foundation to make a difference."

Word spread about what the young American woman is doing in Zambia. Homeless street children gather outside the orphanage door or climb trees to peer over the security wall.

Dye hopes to take in more kids, but she admits raising the money to make that happen is a struggle. It's a struggle that she is used to.

Dye was at KCI to rush to Zambia where one of the kids in her orphanage, Elton, is sick and might die if he doesn't get medical treatment in the United States.

It's another journey, but one she makes without question.

Click on "Energy of Hope," to get more information about Dye's orphanage. Copyright 2010 by KCTV5.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.