Dear Amazing Supporters,
In the midst of another busy holiday season, we wanted to take some time to reflect on this life-changing year for our students and our organization. Without you, the More Than Me Academy would still be a dream rather than a reality.
The More Than Me Academy has been successfully educating 123 girls for half a school year. Aside from the Academy being tuition-free, we also provide two meals per day, health care, access to a computer lab, and a wide array of after school programs - ensuring that our girls are safe and off the streets for as much of the day as possible. Our dream is for every girl to have the power to decide what comes next in her life, whether that means pursuing higher education, learning a trade, starting a business, or starting a family.
Bottom line? We've seen amazing progress in each girl's life because of your generosity, but we still have a long way to go. Now's the time to show the world just how important the issue of girls education is.
Today, we are taking a stand. Our entire team (that includes you) is commited to making sure that no girl should have to self her body just to buy clean water. Will you take a stand?
TODAY ONLY, Microsoft is matching donations up to $1000 at 100%. That means you can DOUBLE your impact: $100 = $200! Share this project page with your community or make a donation today. Matching funds run out quickly, so now's the time to take action!
For a better world,
Emily and the More Than Me Team
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So many things have happened since the More Than Me Academy opened it's doors on September 7th. Here are some of the highlights:
President Sirleaf cut the ribbon at our Grand Opening Ceremony. When asked what the #1 way Americans can help Liberia is, she said, "To support More Than Me and get all these girls in school!" Seriously! See more of the Opening Ceremony here.
We tested our girls before opening and found that they were all severely behind grade level. We placed them into three different levels (instead of grades), and are testing them each quarter to monitor their progress. Our focus is on remedial reading and math. We've already seen some girls jump grade levels and are hoping to bring every student up two grade levels from where they started by the end of this school year. It's exciting, frustrating, and exhilarating all at the same time.
We had our first parent-teacher conferences - and they were immensely successful. Our principal, Maritza, who spent the last eight years as a teacher in the South Bronx, used to dread parent-teacher conferences. Why? Simply because no parents would show up. On the day of conferences at the MTM Academy, she expected the same thing. As she gingerly walked to the entrance of the building, Maritza couldn't believe her eyes. A mob of people stood waiting outside the front gates.
Nearly ALL of the parents of our students showed up. Most of them have never received an education themselves. Teachers talked to parents about how they can help their daughters with their homework and encourage them to excel in school. It was a beautiful day that reinforced the importance of what we are doing. The community of West Point wants to see their daughters succeed. And together, we will make sure that they do.
Right now, you can do something to ensure that these girls have the support network they need to become powerful leaders in their community. Today, Microsoft is matching donations up to $1000 at 100%. That means that $100 = $200 - from now until matching funds run out! Will you join us in supporting the daughters of West Point? Thank you for your continued generosity - we couldn't do this work without you!
Emily and the MTM Team
We are excited to tell you that Population Services International (PSI) offered to teach our students reproductive and sexual health courses free of charge! This news couldn't come at a better time.
We recently found out that two of our girls are pregnant. Similar to what often happens in the US, our pregnant students feel ostracized at school and are starting to skip classes regularly. We are working with their families to figure out the best way forward to ensure that they continue to receive an education both during their pregnancy and afterward.
Without knowing it, these two students have the power to change the trajectory of not just their own lives, but the lives of pregnant teens and young mothers all over Liberia. How? By defying the odds. By staying in school. By becoming advocates for safe sex, gender equality, and their fellow teen mothers. Liberia is ripe for change and MTM's highest hope for our students is that they will be a part of Liberia's positive transformation.
As a matter of fact, Liberia's President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who also happens to be the first female head of state in Africa, got married at 17 and had four children right after high school. After seeing her friends move on to higher education and better jobs, Sirleaf set goals to join them and far outdid herself to get to where she is today.
Right now, you can do something to ensure that these girls have the support network they need to become the next powerful female Liberian leaders. Today, Microsoft is matching donations up to $1000 at 100%. That means that $100 = $200 - from now until matching funds run out! Will you join us in our determination to keep girls off the street and in school? Please help by spreading the word or giving what you can. Thank you for your continued suport - we couldn't do this work without you!