Year in Review
Dear Amazing More Than Me Supporters:
Thank you. It’s because of you that we can do what we do.
The More Than Me Academy (MTM Academy) completed its first year of school in the spring of 2014. We were SO excited! We went from offering scholarships and after school programs to the most vulnerable girls in the West Point Slum community in Monrovia, Liberia to receiving a generously donated building from President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to create Liberia’s first tuition-free girls academy. Our girls were rockin’ it. Seriously. Some were leaping two or three grade levels ahead. They were happier. You could feel the momentum in the air.
Then Ebola hit. At first we thought it would be fine; Ebola was in the bush. Then our nightmare happened: West Point, where our girls are from, became the epicenter of the epidemic. Our girls were in grave danger, and we had to do something. There would be no school if there were no children to fill the classrooms. So while everyone else ran out, we ran back in. We fought with everything in us to end the epidemic. We turned the MTM Academy into an Ebola outreach center. We bought an ambulance and reduced the wait time from 4 days to 30 minutes. Our efforts, with your support, helped save the lives of an estimated 30,000 people.
That doesn’t mean we came out unscathed or unchanged. I’ll never forget Sarah. I gave her two teddy bears and a cell phone and promised to call her every day until she got better. She was so strong, so alive. She walked down the hallway to the Ebola treatment unit and she never came back. I refuse to let Sarah’s death be in vain; we have to do more to ensure that something like Ebola never happens again. I realized that our girls will never be safe, they will never be able to truly thrive, until Liberia does. The first step to rebuilding Liberia is education for all.
So, that’s what we’re doing! We’re partnering with the Ministry of Education to replicate the successes we’ve had at the MTM Academy at government schools across the country. We’re moving as quickly as possible toward a better future for Liberia; a better Liberia for our girls.
Inside this report you’ll learn a little bit more about how we got to where we are today, and as always, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We hope this inspires you to be “more than me”; to live for something bigger than yourself. #forSarah #forthegirls
Do the impossible, We must #DoMore,
Founder and CEO
“When people were running out, we ran back in. We fought with everything in us to end the epidemic.”
When West Point became the epicenter of the Ebola crisis, we knew we had to respond with everything we had to save our girls and help our community.
We sought out gaps in the response, and helped redirect both human and financial resources to support the community’s fight against Ebola. Our Academy became an Ebola outreach center and coordination zone. We joined with other committed West Point organizations to create the Ebola-Free Coalition. Under our leadership, the coalition was able to accomplish some critical work and two staff members were named TIME Persons of the Year.
We could not have provided these resources to our community or helped save our girls without the selfless and generous donations from our network of supporters. We can never thank you enough.
suspected Ebola patients transferred in MTM’s ambulance
homes visited by our nursing team
residents received preventative healthcare education training
people treated for normal illnesses by our home healthcare team
Our social work team identified:
Miatta’s family lived next door to our staff house in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Monrovia. Her father was the first family member to fall ill with Ebola. Her mother, Dedee called for an ambulance, but one never came.
Dedee did what she could – using plastic to cover her hands, she put her husband into a wheelbarrow and took him to the hospital. He died before they arrived.
Deedee and her sons then became ill. It was the MTM ambulance that took them to a clinic. The community was afraid that Miatta would bring the disease into their homes and would not care for her.
MTM took Miatta into our interim care center, HOPE21, hoping that she wouldn’t show symptoms. But two days later, symptoms appeared. Luckily the early identification and treatment helped Miatta become a survivor. Miatta’s mother, Dedee, and her three brothers also survived.
Like many survivors, Dedee and her family came back to a very different life. Possessions had to be destroyed for safety reasons, and without their father, the family had no income.
MTM provided clothing and food to start replacing what they’d lost and helped Dedee find part-time work until the MTM Academy opened, when MTM hired Dedee as their first-ever female security guard.
“Miatta is so very excited every morning to go to school, she even wants to go on Saturdays and Sundays! I am so grateful to the MTM organization and all that they have done for me. MTM saved us and continues to save us every day,” Deedee said.
Miatta is healthier than ever now and attends school at the MTM Academy! She’s one of many new students who’ve been directly affected by Ebola.
Return to Education
Ebola struck us to our core. We learned valuable lessons from fighting Ebola on the front lines, and partnerships we forged during the Ebola crisis continue today. Our trust within the West Point community has never been stronger.
We reopened the MTM Academy, our tuition-free private school that provides high quality education and wrap-around services like healthcare, family planning, psychosocial support, and a feeding program, to the most vulnerable girls in West Point and Central Monrovia aged 5-17, in March of 2015. We held an abbreviated school year through June, followed by six weeks of summer school. We focused on getting the girls’ education back on track and launched some major improvements to keep our girls safe, happy, and healthy:
Tablet technology in classrooms
Family planning classes and contraceptive supplies (with parental approval)
Full monitoring and evaluation program to track short and long-term impact and program efficacy
A Parent Teacher Association and positive parenting classes
A covered outdoor cafeteria for student lunches and meetings in rainy season
Weekly quiz competitions, debates, spelling bees and dramatic performances
“The happiest moment of my life was when More than me came to rescue me. My parents could not afford to send me to school and ever since More Than Me came into my life, they helped me, and now I go to school.”
– Marka, 2nd grader at the MTM Academy
Expanding Our Mission to #DoMore
MTM believes that our students will never be safe, will never be able to truly thrive, until Liberia does. We’re confident that the first step to rebuilding Liberia is education for all.
To provide every student with the best education possible, we transitioned the MTM Academy to a standard K-6 Liberian primary school. After our students graduate from sixth grade, we support them at a nearby secondary school through 12th grade, whilst providing them with the same auxiliary services they’d receive at the MTM Academy. Starting Fall 2016, we will expand by a grade level per year until the MTM Academy offers grades K-12.
To further fight for our students, we realized that after Ebola, we had to do more to rebuild the entire education system in Liberia. Now, we’re partnering with the Ministry of Education to rebuild public schools across the country using the More Than Me model.
Our plans are ambitious, and we can’t do this without you. The time to act is now, before more generations of children lose out on a quality education.
We’re asking you to join us to do more for Liberia’s future leaders.
Thank you for your continued support!
Recognition & Press
2015 Recipient of Nelson Mandela Changemaker Award at PTTOW!