Dear MTM Family,
School is open and the girls are so excited to be back in school. We are cautiously celebrating the news of the release of Liberia's last Ebola patient, and remain focused on supporting the survivors of this horrible epidemic. What happened during Ebola was unacceptable, and it affected us deeply. Now more than ever, we must do more to ensure that our girls graduate with real opportunities. On top of running the More Than Me Academy and supporting Ebola survivors, we are exploring ways to rebuild Liberia's education system to make the biggest impact possible.
As we prepare to leapfrog our girls forward, we've decided to deactivate this project and focus on our exisiting More Than Me Girls Academy project and establishing a new path forward. Your donations have helped us get 35 more girls in school, most of whom were orphaned or abandoned by Ebola. (Our expansion plans changed from adding 75 new students when Ebola hit.) Not only did your donations provide these girls with an education, but you also provided them with two hearty meals a day, access to healthcare, access to a computer lab and library, and a robust afterschool program, ensuring the girls are off the street for the entire day from 7am to 5pm. THANK YOU. You deserve a pat on the back.
Thank you for believing in a brighter future for Liberia.
In this together,
Emily and the More Than Me team
Dear MTM family,
We are thankful to be able to use our school as a school again and we can’t wait for school to begin next week! We are adding 35 new students, most of whom have been orphaned or abandoned by Ebola. Here’s an excerpt from a report our Program Manager, Iris, gave about student recruitment:
Individuals and organizations referred children identified as vulnerable to our school. Each referral slip had the criteria attached, a list of vulnerable factors of which a majority must apply to the student. Forms were compiled and evaluated by a small committee according to priority risk factors. Potential students were called for placement tests, to attempt to fill the vacant places present in the classes. After the test, an interview was done with the student by social worker as well as a current student of the school. Based on the test and interviews, recruits were further followed by home visits and inspection and community interviews. Those identified most vulnerable and whose stories aligned with interview and in-home inspections were selected to attend the More Than Me Academy. We are also planning to launch a malnourishment feeding program for local children affected by Ebola.
Thank you for believing in these girls and coming on this journey with us. We can’t wait to see our students thrive this year in school!
With high hopes and big deams,
Dear MTM family,
Thank you for your continued support. Over the past few months, we've expanded our mission to fight Ebola because we believe that as long as Ebola is in Liberia, our girls are at risk. So we are fighting with everything in us to end this epidemic that terrorizes our children and their families. After witnessing the work being done in the West Point community, we started The Coalition to End Ebola to organize partners and community leaders already working in the community to fill the gaps and support local needs.
All schools in Liberia remain closed. Recently, President Sirleaf lifted Liberia's state of emergency and expressed hope that schools would be able to reopen in early 2015. We are working hard and hoping that Ebola cases continue to decrease in Liberia so that we can reopen the More Than Me Academy by February 2015. We will be sure to keep you updated.
As for adding more students, when we reopen in early 2015, we'll be running a leaner version of our original plan for the year. We will open for our existing students and use a mixture of current staff and volunteers to work at the school. We will still provide meals, access to healthcare and psychosocial services, and computer and health classes on top of the regular academic class schedule.
Our longer term plans are to open a boarding school for these girls and the children we've met who've been orphaned or abandoned by Ebola. We hope you'll expand your hearts with us when we're ready to move forward on this exciting project.
To continue all of these projects, we absolutely need your support. On December 2nd, AKA Giving Tuesday, Microsoft is once again matching donations 100%! Donations up to $500 will be matched. We are getting ready for big things - will you help us begin by getting girls like Mamawa back in school?
If you'd like a reminder when match day begins, join our facebook event! Invite all your friends too!
Thank you for your continued support and love. We are grateful for you, and wish you a happy and peaceful Thanksgiving this week.
For a brighter future,
Emily and the More Than Me Team
Thank you for continuing to give our girls the chance to go to school. Earlier this summer, we were prepared to start the recruitment process for three new classes of Kindergarten through referral forms submitted by local partner organizations. Before we could start, however, the Ebola outbreak engulfed Liberia's capital, Monrovia. On July 30th, President Sirleaf recommended that schools close and large meetings cease. We decided to close summer school at the MTM Academy for the safety of our girls, staff, and community.
On July 31st, the girls and their families came to school for their last 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, parents, 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 back 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 email@example.com.
In this together,
Emily & the MTM Team
We are still blown away by your support. The girls wanted to personally thank you for helping them stay in school and get their friends in school too!
There is one month of school left, and our students are working harder than ever. Our Principal, Maritza, teaches the most advanced class of girls, the Power Class. Here's her update:
The Power girls have been calculating area of compound shapes in math, and most of them were having a lot of trouble with it. I hired the two students who fully understand the math to tutor the other students. The two math whizzes are Eve, 13 and Albernita, 14. I walked into the room maybe twice to check in. It was completely student centered. I gave them a math review quiz the next day, and all the girls who attended the session passed. Success!
It's stories like this that keep us going.
We also wanted to let you know about a slight change to our program for next year. Originally, we wanted to add 50 more girls for the 2014-2015 school year to even out all the classes to 25 students. This would mean recruiting girls from many different ages and ability levels. After further consideration, we realized that it would be more disruptive to the overall learning of our students to bring in girls from different grade levels and try to match them with our classes. Instead, we decided that adding a new kindergarten class only would make a lot more sense. That means we won't be adding 50 girls, but we will be adding a full class of kindergarteners next year!
Thank you for your understanding. We are working hard to find the best way to move all of our girls forward. Our commitment to our students has not waivered. If you have any questions, we are happy to answer them. Please email your questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. We are excited to finish out this year strong and continue planning for next year!
For the girls,
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