Dear Amazing Supporters,
We are excited to announce that the More Than Me Academy opens this week! We have an Opening Celebration planned for September 7th, which will include speeches from the president of Liberia, one of our girls Regina, and our founder Katie Meyler. Our girls will also be performing a rap, a traditional dance, and a drama about what More Than Me means to them. We can't wait to tell you more.
More than 15% of our students have reported exploitative sexual encounters. After the school opening, our next project will be focusing on training teachers on reproductive and sexual health. We will be training the girls so that they can teach others in their community.
In honor of the opening, a generous supporter has given $5,000 and challenged us to match it before September 7th by donating to the More Than Me Girls Academy. Help us make sure that our girls have the amazing school they deserve.
Thank you for caring about the girls of More Than Me. We're in this together!
For the girls,
The More Than Me Team
Meet Beatrice. She's very playful and shy, and doesn’t smile a lot.
Beatrice lives with her biological parents. Her family's income is approximately $20/US/month and they pay $10/month for rent. She has two sisters and a brother. They are no longer in school due to financial problems. Her oldest sister has three children. She’s 17. They all live together and sleep in the same room – one bed with a little mattress.
Our Program Coordinator, Macintosh, met Beatrice when she was on the beach. He asked her if she’d been in school before. She said she used to be in school, but she dropped out because her father couldn’t pay the school fees anymore because he was spending all his money on alcohol. Beatrice and her siblings were sitting at home doing nothing. She told Macintosh that her oldest sister started disappearing during the day and coming back at night, but they didn’t know where she went. After she got pregnant the first time, she stopped leaving the house and started staying at home.
After hearing her story, Macintosh decided to visit Beatrice's home. He met her mom and dad and decided to befriend the family. One he got to know them, Macintosh made a recommendation to Katie to enroll Beatrice in the More Than Me program.
Because of the pattern of her sister’s life and her family’s inability to support her to go to school, Macintosh decided that Beatrice was vulnerable to a similar lifestyle as the one her sister led and wanted to enroll her in the More Than Me program to prevent her from ending up like her sister.
Now Beatrice is enrolled in school and will start school at the new More Than Me Academy when it opens its doors on September 7, 2013! Over 50% of Liberian girls ages 10-14 have never gone to school. With the More Than Me Academy, we are hoping to change this statistic and open the door to opportunity for girls like Beatrice.
We ask you to partner with us in preparing for the Academy's opening by donating on Match Day - Wednesday, June 12th. On that day, your donation will be matched by 50% and will go toward giving these girls the ability to make choices for themselves. Thank you for your continued support! We look forward to updating you again soon.
- The More Than Me Team
The girls have been taking computer, crocheting, and art classes after school. It’s because of you that they are able to have these extracurricular activities and a place to go after the school day ends.
We're happy to report that construction on the More Than Me Academy is almost complete! We are excited to open the doors to the MTM Academy in September.
We also just released our application for our 2013 Fellowship Program. In the next couple months, we will be recruiting eight passionate, entrepreneurial fellows to help run the MTM Academy for the 2013-2014 school year. In addition to teaching at the Academy alongside a Liberian teacher, each fellow will take on a supplementary role to ensure that the Academy and MTM’s projects on the ground run smoothly. Those positions include:
This is an exciting time for More Than Me. Fellows will play a crucial role in guiding the vision of MTM and giving the girls the best education possible. We plan to double the number of girls we support by the end of 2013! Thank you for your continued support, we couldn't do our work without you. Here are some recent photos of the Academy’s construction progress and what our girls have been up to.
With the help of awesome donors like you, we are expanding rapidly and will be opening our very own all-girls academy in 2013! The More Than Me Academy will enable us to increase our impact by affecting over 500 girls and indirectly thousands more. With its focus on teaching entrepreneurship, the school will empower these girls to be able to provide for themselves by becoming active participants in their local economy.
Each girl will be given uniforms, books, health-care, nutritious lunches, mentors, and a safe environment to reach her potential. Following the traditional school day, the girls will work with social workers and tutors, as well as attend vocational training workshops in activities such as, sewing, baking, and jewelry-making. We are also so excited to be able to provide dance and photography for our students, which have never been introduced to the Liberian school system. All of this would not be possible without you!
This December, we had an amazing month - some of the girls in Liberia learned how to use a laptop for the first time ever! More Than Me volunteer, Emma Reynolds, started computer lessons with a class of 10 girls, teaching them how to type, save documents and use a mouse pad. They even had typing competitions in which the teachers were quite strict on making sure the girls used their two hands and learned to touch-type from the start. Hawa, who is 12 years old, won the typing competitions every time with a speedy style of touch-typing. The girls were so eager to learn and absolutely loved working with the computer; every time they pressed the 'on' button and the laptop turned on, their eyes lit up with excitement. What's next? Maybe learning how to use the Internet! We can’t wait to see and experience huge growth in our students and organization over the upcoming year. We want to thank you for all of your support and generosity, we would never be able to reach as many girls without you!
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