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 email@example.com.
In this together,
Emily & the MTM Team
Katie in West Point checking on students