More Than Me

Guesthouse/Cafe and Academy
(Monrovia, Liberia)

More Than Me (MTM) is an organization dedicated to assisting and educating vulnerable girls in Monrovia, Liberia’s slum communities.

mtm-1Guesthouse and Cafe – 2013 + 2014

The Foundation awarded a grant to MTM to allow them to build a social enterprise guesthouse/café to increase the organization’s financial sustainability. Monrovia, Liberia has a shortage of affordable housing for visitors, despite being a highly trafficked destination for corporations and NGOs. The guesthouse will serve these visitors, as well as highly skilled volunteers visiting MTM for short term projects. The café, open to the general public, will meet another local market need by offering affordable international style meals. The dual café-guesthouse approach will allow for flexibility in serving the local market and for fluctuations in revenue.

Note: in light of the extreme and unique circumstances surrounding the Ebola outbreaks in West Africa in 2014–and MTM’s placement and response in their communities–the Morris Family Foundation offered additional funds to MTM to allow them to pivot to meet pressing needs in Liberia. Their update follows:

Due to the Ebola epidemic, the MTM Guesthouse closed in July 2014 and is not currently operating. However, during the epidemic, the guesthouse was used as an interim care center for children who were affected by Ebola and in need of temporary safe housing and observation. More recently, it has become the headquarters for MTM’s Ebola response operations so that the MTM Academy, which had previously served as HQ, can be reopened as a school. MTM plans to reopen the guesthouse later this year as Liberia recovers from the epidemic.


mtm-2Academy and Ebola Orphan Assistance

MTM operates a K-5 Academy in downtown Monrovia that will serve 144 students for the remainder of the 2015 school year. 40 of those students will be orphans or children otherwise affected by Ebola in the communities where MTM works. Children in Monrovia who are orphaned are uniquely vulnerable due to a lack of kinship ties and increased likelihood of child labor or sexual exploitation. Even when adopted, they are less likely than the family’s biological children to have the opportunity to attend school because of the extra associated costs. MTM is committed to offering these children the opportunity to pursue an education and, with the support of the Morris Family Foundation, is making infrastructure changes and purchasing additional resources that will allow them to add these students to the Academy on short notice. The school reopened on February 2nd, 2015.

One of these students, Mercy, was recently profiled in a Huffington Post story on the epidemic that outlined the care she had received from MTM, first at the interim care center that was temporarily held at the guesthouse, and now as a student at the Academy. Mercy recently started her first year of school.

 

 

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