We work with community leaders to identify the girls who are at the highest risk of being sexually exploited to ensure that education and opportunity, not exploitation and poverty, shape their lives. Up until now we have partnered with a local school paying girls’ tuition, uniforms and everything they need to get to school including their school lunch (which many times their only meal for the day). We incentivize them to do well with class trips, awesome giveaways, and recognition for girls that have high GPAs, great attitudes, and girls who take risks and speak up. It’s working. Ten percent of our girls are first in their class and they are extremely motivated.
This fall we will be opening up our own girls academy, “The More Than Me Academy” with a focus on teaching the girls entrepreneurship. We will teach them things like baking, sewing, and hair braiding, and then provide them opportunities to run their own businesses right on the school campus which is in the center of the city market (the school was donated by the Liberian Government and was the former ministry of education).
Sustainability is driven by immersion. And we’re immersed in their world. We know their families, even their former pimps. There is no us and them. For other organizations, both large (UNICEF, USAID) and smaller organizations, this bottom-up approach is unique. The results of this approach manifests itself in the lives of Elizabeth, Abigail, Morrisline and in the 97 other girls that we’ve lifted out of desperation, out of prostitution, and placed in school.
We live and work on the cutting edge. The norm doesn’t cut it for us. We teach young girls whose moms are sex workers how to read and write and how to run a business. Everything from what we do to how we fundraise is innovative and unique. We’re impatient, too. And that’s why our output is aggressive. In the next six months, we’re putting an additional 500 girls in school. In twelve months, another 1,000. And in ﬁve years? We’re ensuring that all girls in Liberia will have an education. And in the next two to three years, More Than Me will be immersing our model in ﬁve slums that our team is currently identifying around the world. Slums, similar to West Point, that have uncommonly high rates of sexual exploitation and educational inequality are our targets.