Dear MTM Family,
School is open and the girls are so excited to be back in school. We are cautiously celebrating 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. Now more than ever, we must do more to ensure that girls like Tonia (pictured above) graduate with real opportunities. On top of running the More Than Me Academy and supporting Ebola survivors, we are researching how to make the biggest impact possible in Liberia by rebuilding its education system.
As we prepare to leapfrog our girls forward, we've decided to deactivate this project. Your donations have helped us expand our programs to 150 girls, and to provide all of 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. We couldn't have done this without you.
Thank you for believing in a brighter future for Liberia.
We're in this together,
Emily and the More Than Me team
Dear MTM 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.
Here's what one of our staff members had to say about our recent PTA meetings:Having engaged the students, it was time for us to engage the parents! As the students were coming on campus to be measured for their new MTM uniforms, I sent them home with invitation slips for their parents to attend the first PTA meeting of 2015 and the first one since Ebola. We met on campus Sunday at 3:00pm, January 18th. I prepared one of the rooms to seat about 30 parents, but I was absolutely floored by a turnout of more than 70! Standing room only! These parents care deeply about their girls, and the level of cooperation and involvement that they showed impressed me. The meeting was successful, and we had a second successful meeting on February 15th to elect PTA leadership. All in all, the 2015 MTM academic year is shaping up to monumental!
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!
For a brighter future,
Dear More Than Me Family,
Thank you for your continued support. Working in Liberia can pose many different challenges, and we couldn't do our work without donors like you. Over the past few months, we've expanded our mission to fight Ebola, and the fight is not over yet. We've started The Coalition to End Ebola because we believe that as long as Ebola is in Liberia, our girls are at risk. So we are fighting to end this epidemic as quickly as possible by understanding and supporting the needs of communities and local leaders, and remaining flexible to respond rapidly to urgent needs.
The More Than Me Academy and all other schools in Liberia are still closed. Our girls have been out of school for way too long. Recently, President Sirleaf lifted the state of emergency in Liberia and hopes to be able to reopen schools in early 2015. We are working hard in our community and hoping that Ebola cases continue to decline so that we can reopen the More Than Me Academy in February 2015.
To continue this work, we absolutely need your help. The next GlobalGiving Match Day is on Giving Tuesday, December 2nd! On that day, donations up to $500 are matched 100% by Microsoft. 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.
Wishing you and yours a happy Thanksgiving, we are grateful for you!
In this together,
Emily and the More Than Me Team
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
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,
EmilyLike us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter
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