Dear More Than Me Family,
Thank you for standing by our girls and the community of West Point during these trying times. We are excited to announce that the More Than Me Academy is finally reopening! The opening date has been pushed back a month to ensure safety, but we are now scheduled to reopen on March 2nd. The Academy has been transformed back into a school from being the Ebola-Free Coalition’s home base and warehouse. Our Ebola program headquarters have been moved to our guest house, and the Academy has been cleaned, the blackboards washed, new students recruited (most of whom were orphaned or abandoned by Ebola), PTA meetings held, and teachers trained. In short, we’re READY to open!
Our staff on the ground is truly amazing. They fought Ebola on the front lines, while always keeping the vision for our girls at the center of what they do. Check out the amazing accomplishments of our team in the infographic below.
Thank you for believing in More Than Me!
For a better and brighter Liberia,
Thank you for your continued support. Over the past few months, we've expanded our mission to fight Ebola, and the fight is not over yet. Our mission in the time of Ebola is:
As long as there is Ebola in Liberia, our girls are at risk. More Than Me is fighting with everything we are made of to end this epidemic that terrorizes our children and the communities in which they live. We are doing this by understanding the pulse of the local people, remaining flexible to respond rapidly to urgent needs, and supporting efforts that have the highest return. (You can learn more about our Ebola projects here.)
The Ebola crisis forced schools to shut down in July. They remain closed today, which means that our girls have been out of school for way too long. Recently, President Sirleaf lifted the state of emergency in Liberia and announced that she hopes to be able to reopen schools in early 2015. We are hoping with all our hearts that this will come true, and we are aiming to reopen the More Than Me Academy in February 2015.
But, we need your help! The next GlobalGiving match day is on #GivingTuesday - that's December 2nd! On that day, donations up to $500 are matched 100% by Microsoft. Will you help get girls like Mamawa back in school?
Matching starts at 9am ET on Tuesday, December 2nd. Need a reminder? Join our facebook event and we'll share the link at the exact time matching starts.
With love for Liberia,
Emily and the More Than Me Team
Dear Amazing Supporters,
I'm sure by now you've heard about the world's deadliest Ebola outbreak effecting Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. When President Sirleaf recommended on July 30th that schools close, we had to follow suite for the safety of our girls, staff, and community. On July 31st, we had our last day of summer school for the girls.
On that day, 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 are being relocated to the US. We have been monitoring the situation on the ground through ongoing contact with NGOs, government ministries, and our local staff. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
In this together,
Emily & the MTM Team
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,
Life in West Point is overwhelming at times. It's congested and lacks sanitation. There are no bathrooms. There's only one road in and out of the slum. There are no hospitals there. This is a story from Macintosh, our Program Coordinator:
On the evening of January 31, 2014, I was about to take a bath when some of the students came running to my house to tell me that Patience fell in to the fire.
I stopped whatever I was doing and rushed to Patience’s house, before getting to the house I met with some member of that community they told me that Patience was try to make food for the house that was how she fell into the fire. Within that time another person has taken her to my house, I rush back home and met this child with her face all burnt up. The family of this child knows that she had been ill with epilepsy for years, and this time she had stopped taking the medication for no reason. She had been doing the cooking for her family when she had an episode and fell into the fire.
I went to find a car to take her to the hospital. It was very difficult to find car at that hour. I managed to get a car that we used for that night and we paid the driver fifteen united states dollars to drive us to the JFK hospital.
Patience has now made one month in the JFK hospital, and she responding to treatment on a day-to-day basis. She can talk and eat, and is getting better every day.
I met Patience many years ago, she was selling bananas on the street. She's now one of our older students. She's very helpful and loving. She has epilepsy and during an episode fell into a fire stove. The photo below is her after one month of treatment; she looks so much better! We are beyond thankful that we have healthcare for the girls. Otherwise, she likely would have died. I wanted to tell you this story because YOUR DONATIONS MATTER. You are making a difference in Patience's life. Because of you, we are able to pay for Patience's treatment.
Every day, we continue to fight for the girls of West Point. This Saturday, March 8th, is International Women's Day. The Ministry of Gender chose to honor More Than Me - their focus is Mentoring for Transformation. We see our girls transforming into leaders every day. The girls are excited to take part in a day that celebrates women in Liberia. A day that celebrates perserverance and strength for girls like Patience.
Change is happening. We can feel it.
Will you make a lasting impact for more girls like Patience?
Microsoft is matching new recurring donations 100% for the first 3 months (up to $500 per donor). This is an amazing opportunity - recurring donations keep our projects growing, refining and expanding from month to month. Will you consider making a new monthly donation for these girls?
For Equality for Women and Healing for Patience,
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