More Than Me

The More Than Me Academy is on a mission to make sure education and opportunity, not exploitation and poverty, define the lives of the most vulnerable girls from the West Point Slum of Liberia. When she graduates, she will decide what comes next for her life.
May 29, 2014

Introducing the West Point Working Group

Dear MTM Family,

Thank you for supporting our programs in Liberia. We're excited to give you this update from the ground.

To better serve our girls and the community they live in, More Than Me organized and hosted the inaugural meeting of the West Point Working Group last month to help coordinate organizations’ services in West Point and better understand how we can work together to achieve common goals in the community.

Our goal was for the working group to become a platform for inquiry, collaboration, and partnerships, and we’re happy to say that this first meeting did just that! Twenty six people attended representing more than 15 organizations working in West Point. The West Point Commissioner, Honorable Miatta Flowers, also joined us! 

There was so much passion and energy in the room: this was the first time that all of these organizations had come together, LOOKED at each other, and heard the work each other does. Attendees kept interjecting because they felt the same emotions or faced the same challenges as their peers. People were excited and yelling and debating and valuing the lives of people in West Point. 

Michelle, our Director of Programs, couldn’t believe the group’s immediate success:

“It was beyond beautiful...this thing will have a life of its own, and that was our greatest goal, to just spark the conversation and collaboration. My favorite moment was that people started showing up 45 minutes early. By 1:05 everyone was in the room. THIS NEVER HAPPENS [in Liberia]. And we all noticed it. It's just a clear sign that we have all felt this same way...alone in our work, and wanting to ask questions, share concerns, and collaborate with others.”

MTM met mentors and partners who can help us achieve the most important outcomes for our students. And we are confident that the group will continue to collaborate, not only at monthly meetings, but also on a daily basis in West Point, working side-by-side to improve the lives of its inhabitants.

We are motivated by the energy from the community. When our students graduate from the More Than Me Academy, they will be able to make choices for their future. And that’s HUGE.

Thank you for your continued support. We have one month left of school and are excited that the last day of school, June 25th, is also a Microsoft Bonus Day, with donations matched at 100%! Stay tuned for how you can get involved.

For the girls,

Emily

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May 29, 2014

What's up at the MTM Academy?

Saturday school in session!
Saturday school in session!

With one month of school left, we continue to be inspired by the progress our students have made. No ‘summer fever’ or ‘senioritis’ here; the girls aim to work as hard as they can to improve their reading and math skills before summer break. 

Lauren, our Vision Class teacher, reports:

Last week, the Vision girls finished their individual oral phonics tests, and have now officially completed two years of phonics! Our values of the month are "determination" and "mastery", and the girls have done a great job putting those two values into practice. We began our first round of optional Saturday review classes, where all but six of the girls attended to sharpen their reading skills.

They have also been paired together as special "phonics friends" to reinforce the material, and most of them spend their lunch and recess hour reviewing their work so they can become the best readers possible. They have said that they will do whatever it takes to finish an additional half-year of phonics by the end of the school year (instead of just reviewing the material we've already learned), which will have them finishing the year halfway through the second-grade reading program. This is INCREDIBLE considering they all had not had a single phonics class before the year began. We started with Kindergarten phonics at the beginning of the year. The Vision girls are working hard, and we are so proud of their dedication to learning!

When Saturday school is a big hit, you know you're onto something good. We're proud to be pushing for the best outcomes for our girls. When she graduates, she will decide what comes next for her life. And that’s HUGE!

For the girls,

Emily

P.S. We are excited that the last day of school, June 25th, is also a Microsoft Bonus Day, with donations matched at 100%! Stay tuned on facebook and twitter for how you can get involved and see the progress our girls have made in a year.

Working on phonics!
Working on phonics!

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Mar 28, 2014

Update on MTM's clean water!

Aqualife pouches provide clean water #forthegirls
Aqualife pouches provide clean water #forthegirls

Dear Amazing Supporters,

We wanted to update you on the Clean Rain Water Project at the MTM Academy. After you funded the project so successfuly, Cyrus - one of our amazing staff members in Liberia - installed pipes to create a rainwater harvesting system for the academy. This system was relatively cheap to install, and along with our partnership with Aqualife, which provides clean water pouches for the girls free of charge all school year long, we've been able to provide our girls with clean and safe access to water for less than the amount you raised. 

This is good news! It's not uncommon for this to happen with GlobalGiving's microprojects, but we wanted to let you know exactly where your money is going. The money that wasn't spent on the rainwater harvesting system will go to our More Than Me Girls Academy project fund. So the money you raised is actually going further.

On a water related note, in Liberia 54% of primary schools don't have any access to water at all. Girls who do not have appropriate sanitation facilities at school are less likely to attend school, particularly if they are menstruating. Having just celebrated World Water Day on March 22nd, we are grateful to you for making the MTM Academy stand out from the crowd. For giving these girls not only access to clean water every day, but also for supporting their ongoing education and investing in their future.

At the MTM Academy, we are on a mission to make sure education and opportunity, not exploitation and poverty, define the lives of the most vulnerable girls from the West Point Slum of Liberia. When she graduates, she will decide what comes next for her life. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me at emilyb@morethanme.org. Thank you so much for your continued support.

For good health and better sanitation,

Emily & The MTM Team

P.S. The next big Match Day is on Wednesday, April 16th! Mark your calendars for a chance to make your support go even further (again).

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