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.
Aug 26, 2014

Fighting for a Better Liberia

Dear supporters,

I apologize if this report is a little heavy, but it's important to know how strong our girls are. And to know that, you first need to know about the struggles they faced. If you are on our newsletter list or follow us on social media, we released a statement in June about one of our staff members, Macintosh. Numerous students reported that Macintosh had been sexually abusing them. The news shocked and saddened us, and we heard your shock, sadness and support echo ours. As Katie stated,

"Our girls are an example of raw boldness and we are prepared to do whatever we need to stand along side of them. Your support, prayers and love are the reason our girls were able to have the courage to speak out, and they need you now more than ever."

Currently, Macintosh is in jail until the trail; the date for which has not yet been set. The girls who came forward are in a safe home and strong as ever. They understand that what they are doing matters. For themselves, for their fellow students, for all women in Liberia; these girls are incredibly brave. Women in Liberia don’t normally speak out, and to see this kind of courage at such a young age inspires us every day. 

A month later, in late July, the Ebola outbreak suddenly made it to the forefront of the news. On July 30th, President Sirleaf recommended that schools close. We felt that we needed to close the MTM Academy for the safety of our girls, our staff, and our community.

On July 31st, we gave care packages to the girls that included workbook pages to keep them busy and learning, medicine for fever and bacterial illnesses, Ebola awareness posters, health care referral forms, oral rehydration solutions, chlorine, soap, and rice. All students and staff also attended an awareness class led by doctors and staff from UNICEF, the IRC, and Ministry of Health. While the school is closed, all expat staff members have been relocated to the US.

To date, we've had no reported cases of Ebola related illness in students or staff.

On Friday August 22nd, our founder Katie Meyler arrived in Liberia to help the West Point community, where the majority of our girls live. You can follow her journey at http://racingheartblog.tumblr.com/

Thank you for your continued support. We hope to reopen school as soon as it's safe for our girls. Until then, we will keep fighting for a better, faster, more organized response to the outbreak, both in West Point and across Liberia. Please direct any questions, comments, or words of support to emilyb@morethanme.org.

In this together,

Emily & the MTM Team

Katie in West Point checking on students
Katie in West Point checking on students
Jun 9, 2014

Update on MTM's Library!

Albernita enjoying her library!
Albernita enjoying her library!

The More Than Me Academy Library is open! Thank you for supporting literacy at our school. We wanted to update you on how the money you raised is being spent. Last fall, we received a generous grant from the British Embassy in Liberia to open a brand new library! Only 11% of schools in Liberia have a library. On top of that, we've received several book donations for our library. Due to these two developments, the only book purchases we needed to make were for regional and cultural literature, so that our students can learn more about the community and culture they've been brought up in!

The money you raised will go to support our main project that supported this microproject, 500 Girls off the Street and Into School in Liberia. This is GlobalGiving's microproject policy, and we wanted to let you know how your money is being spent.

Thank you for your continued support. We couldn't do this work without you!

For the girls,

Emily and the MTM Team

May 29, 2014

Have you heard of intenSati?

Ashley and the girls celebrating after class!
Ashley and the girls celebrating after class!

Thank you for your continued support of our girls and our programs. We have had some amazing volunteers in the past few months and we wanted to share one of their stories with you. Here is Ashley's story:

I spent the last couple of weeks teaching the young women and girls of the More Than Me Academy in Liberia a practice known as intenSati. intenSati is an exhilarating workout that builds physical, mental and spiritual muscle. intenSati combines high-energy, total body training with positive affirmations that you either think or speak. I am possibly the first person to bring the practice of intenSati to Liberia and quite possibly Africa as a whole.  

During the time I had with these beautiful girls, bursting with potential, whose eagerness you could practically feel gyrating on the surface of their skin, we spent a lot of time talking about how to make our dreams come true-- how to make our dreams a reality.  

So here I was on my first day of teaching, standing in front of a dozen or so students in dusty uniforms with their big attentive eyes staring into mine when I realized my very dream, one in which I dreamed up two years ago, was coming true. I was living it.   

In order for us to create our dreams, to make our dreams a reality we must put in alignment our thoughts, our words and our actions. Thus is the idea I explored with the MTM girls through meditation (thought), verbal affirmations (word) and physical movement (action). I may never know the impact of my teachings nor the enormity of my efforts. For that, you should ask each and every girl I got the pleasure of teaching. What I can say for certain is that we had fun! We smiled, we danced, we shouted and we celebrated! Together with all our power we were able to slow down time and truly live in the NOW with no concern with what was coming next. 

Thank you Ashley for your amazing work with our girls! They had so much fun shouting things like "I am powerful!" and "I am strong!" while learning how to meditate and exercise in a healthy way.

Thank YOU, our amazing supporters, for believing in these girls. We couldn’t do our work without you! We have one month left of school, and 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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Ashley teaching intenSati to the community!
Ashley teaching intenSati to the community!
Class on the roof of our Guest House
Class on the roof of our Guest House

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