Meet Pearlina

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Every day our team works to fill the gaps in the Ebola response plan for West Point and other areas of Monrovia. Our staff sees heartbreaking stories, but also local heros stepping up where help is needed. On Monday, Katie decided to follow an ambulance to Redemption Hospital to figure out what happens when patients are brought to an Ebola Treatment Center. What started out as a curiosity to learn more, turned into a beautiful story of hope. (Photos and captions pulled from Katie’s instagram: @katiemeyler)

I will never forget that moment for the rest of my life. This sweet pumpkin just watched her mom pass in the ambulance. She was not symptomatic. I pray with everything in me, she’s ok. A woman is looking for the rest of her family but in case they can’t find her, I told them we would find someone to care for her. #hard #reality

I can’t imagine what she was thinking. I got to talk to her a bit and made her smile small.

#precious #girl

This is Gideon. He’s a nurse at Redemption Hospital. He loves using a telescope to identify sickness. His dream job is working in a lab to do the results of #ebola suspects. He’s mega compassionate. He and Pearlina have a special bond already. I picked him up to check on kids from yesterday.

Remember that little girl from the ambulance who watched her mother die? Well, she’s healthy and showing no signs of #ebola . No one wanted to take her because they are afraid and it’s not safe for her at the hospital. So she’s going to be quarantined at the @morethanmeorg guest house with toys, love, Disney movies, and our social workers. Her name is Pearlina and she’s 3 years old. She’s our little pearl child. We are looking for her extended family in the mean time. #believing she will stay healthy! Please pray with me.

We bought her a bunch of clothes, food, a stuffed animal, a DVD player. She literally tried on all her clothes including every pair of underwear. It was such a joy to see her happy. I sat in the corner and just smiled with tears of happiness for her health and life. Dear God please keep her healthy.

Trying on outfit #3. She keeps calling nurse Gideon “Papa.”

Outfit #4 :)  

Beautiful Pearlina. Please pray for her health right now. We will keep you updated.

 

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Forbes Magazine Highlights MTM’s Fight Against Ebola

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“And she promised them that Ebola won’t win, ‘Our girls can and will be the next leaders.’”

Tom Watson, Forbes

Our team is working on the front lines, determined to lay waste to this horrible epidemic, but we remain steadfast in our mission to educate the future leaders of a country with so much potential. We will do everything in our power to ensure that our girls can return to school. We will not let Ebola or any other blockade stand in the way of our children’s futures. Now is the time to act. Help make my birthday wish come true.

DONATE NOW.

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The world is starting school this week, she is not.

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I met Patience Wesseh when she was 8 years old. She was selling bananas. She’s 16 now and she has epilepsy. During an episode, she was cooking and fell into the fire. Thankfully, we provide healthcare for our students, and Patience received life-saving treatment.

People make fun of her now, but she so easily forgives them. She’s always been very helpful and loving. So after the burned face, Macintosh news, and now Ebola, she just lost her house and all her belongings on Tuesday because of the ocean erosion. She’s staying with friends.

Patience doesn’t believe Ebola is real in West Point. I cried, looking into her eyes and said, “Do you trust me? If so, I just came from the MSF [Doctors Without Borders] Ebola clinic and they have patients who have Ebola from West Point. If you don’t believe me please, all I ask is don’t touch anyone, stay at home for the next 15 days, we’ll bring you food and whatever you need. I’m not the government, I’m not the police, I’m just a crazy white girl from the USA who cares about you and I’d do anything to keep you safe. Please. So many people love you.” She smiled. I hope I got through to her.

With all of these challenges, Patience needs us now more than ever. We are putting together a plan that will help her and all the other MTM students in West Point. So much still needs to be done – awareness, education, supplies, healthcare, communication, everything. As soon as we’ve finalized our emergency response plan, I will let you know how you can help. 

These girls are my everything. I’ll never give up.

Together we can #beatEbola,

Katie
racingheartblog.tumblr.com

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An interview with Regina

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We asked Regina, age 15, some questions about love, equality and being a girl. Can you relate to her answers?
We sure can.

What does being a girl mean to you?
Regina: If you are a girl then you must have encouragement and plan for your life. You must also have determination and self esteem.

What do you think about equality?
R: To my own understanding, equality means everyone is equal because God’s created everyone. Equality also means that you should give respect to everyone whether white or black, rich or poor, small or big, and smart or slow.

How do you show love?
R: How I love myself is by coming to school every day, studying my lessons, participating in class, listening to my teachers, following instructions, and showing every one love. I can also love my family by making peace when there is conflict, giving everybody my opinion when there is no good advice and helping them when they are in need of anything. I can also love my friends by caring for them when they are sad or upset, by helping them with their works when they are lot by also giving them good advice to make a rightful or good decisions.

What does More Than Me mean to you?
R: More Than Me means lots of things. Example, it means making a big difference, it means to help others who are in need, it also means to change the world, my country, and my community.

What do you hope for for girls not in school?
R: The girls who are not in school I hope they should fight hard and make their dreams comes true by asking for support so that they can be in school, but I think they are lack of support so that is why they are not in school. But by the help of More Than Me, I think they will be in school.

Regina won her 1st class spelling bee this week!

Regina is right. A lot of girls in her neighborhood lack the support to go to school. If you’d like to be a support system for a new girl in school, you can change her story today. We wish you a Happy International Women’s Day, and we hope you celebrate the amazing women and girls in your life!

Love,

The MTM Family

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You text, she wins.

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What happens when you text to give? You donate $10 to our GlobalGiving Project – Change Her Story – Get 50 More Girls in School! Here’s a breakdown for ya:

We are adding 50 girls to the MTM Academy next year. We chose this number because we want to focus on real outcomes for the girls, rather than scale. We want to grow in a way that makes sense.

Last week we had a spelling bee and we thought, wow. Last year, a lot of these girls were on the street selling, and now they’re in school spelling. Competing in a spelling bee, even! Getting to read in a library and learn how to use computers. Mastering phonics, addition and subtraction. Receiving regular check ups and deworming pills. Eating two healthy meals and feeling safe each day.

We need your help. Give #50moregirls a chance at a brighter future by sending them to school at the MTM Academy.

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B’s Legacy Lives On!

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We experienced a tragic loss last semester. In December, one of our beautiful young women, Beatrice, lost her life due to an enlarged heart and worms that had infected her stomach and lungs. Beatrice fought up until the last moment and somehow grasped, at 13 years old, that her life and her pain could be about more than just herself. Three days before she passed, she said, “I am fighting so that no other student, no other young woman has to be in this condition, has to lie in this hospital bed.” Her death shook our community, but we refuse to let her strength and spirit pass along with her.
This month, we opened the “Be Your Best Self” Library in honor of Beatrice with support from the British Ambassador. And two weeks ago, we dewormed 124 students. It wasn’t beautiful watching our students struggling to pass the worms, but with every worm-free stomach comes the possibility of a healthier, longer life. We felt Beatrice’s spirit smiling down on us seeing that we are doing everything in our power to continue her fight that no student will have to lie in that hospital bed.

We will continue to grow our library and more and more books have been coming in. Thank you to everyone who has supported the “Be Your Best Self” Library thus far! If you’re interested in becoming a supporter, please email [email protected].

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Your App Questions Answered.

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What is the More Than Me App? The More Than Me App asks you to think more carefully about your daily purchases. Instead of buying a $2 coffee, you could #forgo that money and donate it to More Than Me. Did you know that $2 equals the price of one dose of malaria medication? Your daily decisions really can have a #BIGimpact.

Does the App use real money? Yes. When you decide to forgo an item, you choose the amount you would have paid for it, and that amount gets donated to More Than Me.

Why should I forgo? Besides the kudos you’ll get from all your friends, we have a special Valentine’s Day challenge for you. Forgo $25 this week and you’ll get a personalized valentine from the girls!

Why else should I forgo? Well, because it will make your heart smile. And that’s a promise.

Download the app at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/more-than-me/id783497664?mt=8 and email [email protected] with any questions! #Forgo #forthegirls today. We know you want to!

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Princess Matters.

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Today is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day.

Here are some facts that shed light on the context our girls live in:

AllAfrica.com recently wrote an article about the FIRST person convicted of human trafficking in Liberia. Our founder, Katie, wanted YOU to hear her response:

Dear More Than Me Family,

I just read the “All Africa” story about child slavery in Liberia. I’m angry. It’s just not okay the way these young children are being treated. I don’t need to read about it in the news because I know these children. Many of them were our girls’ stories before they came to the Academy. Princess, who at 8, lived with her Grandma, but had a full-time job selling water in the pouring rain or under the beating hot sun. She had never gone to school, but now she’s enrolled in the MTM Academy.  Or Musu, who at age 6 sold peanuts from the top of her head in the slums wearing her broken flip flops. She followed me and hid every time I’d look back at her. Now Musu is also enrolled in the Academy. For our 120 girls, it’s not just school. The Academy is the only safe place they have and they don’t ever want to go home.

Every single day other children walk past and stare through our gates. They have buckets or wheelbarrows of used clothes and it breaks everything in me, I wonder what they think. I wonder how they feel. Sometimes I go out and talk to them and kiss them and play with them. Other times, I try as hard as I can to ignore them. The needs inside our gates are already overwhelming. I think of Mother Teresa. She couldn’t physically help all the time, but she loved. I try to too; I want to be that. 

No young child, Liberian, American, Pink, Green or Yellow should be hungry on the street working. I’m the first to admit I don’t have all the answers, but I would give my life for these children a million times over. I don’t get it.  I want to scream, but since that doesn’t really do anything, may our work with MTM scream to the world. There is something so much bigger than just ourselves, and may its impact echo throughout the world.

Princess Matters,

Katie

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#GetStreet with us.

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We are in awe of your support. Thank you for spreading the word and helping girls get off the street. Tomorrow is Match Day! Where will you be at noon ET, 9am PT? (Hint: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/morethanme-girls-academy/)

Your #getstreet photos are taking Facebook by storm! (click on an image to make it larger):

How to #getstreet:

Invite your friends to join this event: https://www.facebook.com/events/547026155384944/

Tomorrow, Tuesday December 3rd, at noon ET (9am PT) give to get girls off the street – https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/morethanme-girls-academy/

Don’t see your photo up there? Post it to our Facebook page and we’ll add it!
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TIME TO GET STREET

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We have a challenge for you.

Tuesday, December 3rd is #GivingTuesday, a day to give back to charity after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. This year, Microsoft is matching donations up to $1000 at 100%. They have $250K to give away in matching funds! Matching starts at exactly 12pmEST, and we need your help to invite people to take a stand against girls living and working on the street.

Here’s the deal: What would happen if you and 5 friends changed your profile pictures to something like this:Except it’s you holding the sign. What if you invited 20 friends to pledge to donate to More Than Me so that girls in West Point won’t have to sell their bodies for clean water anymore?

What if taking action was as easy as snapping a selfie? Here’s what you can do:

  1. Download and print this sign (or make your own): 
  2. Take a photo of yourself holding the sign in your neighborhood, outside your school, or at your local shopping center.
  3. Change your profile picture to this new photo!
  4. Caption the photo with this: “For the holidays, I’m taking a stand against girls living on the street! Join me: https://www.facebook.com/events/547026155384944/
  5. Invite your friends to the facebook event.
  6. On December 3rd, at 12pm EST, 9am PST – Donate! (We’ll send you the link through Facebook) Or spread the word!
  7. And remember, it’s not about you.
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124

mtm girls in school

464,112

Global Supporters

106

countries represented