Katie Meyler Risks Ebola to Educate Girls in Liberia
Steve Adubato goes one-on-one with Katie Meyler, Founder of More Than Me, an organization providing a tuition-free education to the most vulnerable girls in Liberia. Adubato sits down with her to hear about Katie’s brave decision to stay in Liberia during the Ebola epidemic and how the school’s model is revolutionizing Liberia’s education system today.
"We're pleased to welcome Katy Meyler. Founder and CEO of an organization called More Than Me. How you doing? Amazing. More Than Me is? An organization that's helping Liberia to rebuild its education system so that every single little girl has access to her basic human rights. How did you hook up with this organization? How did you start? What, you started it? Yeah, I started it. I'm the founder. Because? Hold on, you're from beautiful Somerset, New Jersey, otherwise known as Horse Country, and Liberia comes into it how? When I was 23 years old, my first job out of college was in Liberia. So I got assigned to live there almost like a Peace Corps situation, and I got there and I was living in a remote village and I'd come back to the city and when I'd get into the city, I met a little girl. I met kids that were working on the streets and they were selling. That was their full time job. Working. And I met an 11 year old girl named Abigail who was literally giving oral sex for clean drinking water and she asked me to help her go to school and I couldn't walk away, so I helped Abigail go to school. She brought more kids and more friends and I was telling my friends back in New Jersey, I was sharing their stories, sending them photos. They were wiring me money and it turned into the organization "More than Me". So is it largely focused on education for these girls? It's what they wanted. The girls, it started off that way. The girls asked me to help them go to school and I did, and the schools that they were going to weren't good enough. They weren't really learning. The teachers weren't there. So we ended up starting our own school. So it became the first free all girls academy in Liberia. It was so exciting. The president of Liberia, the first female president in Africa... a lot of people don't realize this, but Liberia was actually formed by freed American slaves, so it's this big connection to the United States, and so she said, "Thank you for your service to my country and as long as you are serving the children of Liberia for free, you can have this building." And so she gives me this bombed out looted building and we turned it into the first free all girls school. It became a leading school in the country. It was so exciting. And then unfortunately, ebola hit. Describe the change. Well, at first we..."