Marshallese Empowerment Through Education project funded by Tyson Foods, Inc.
MEI supports education as a means to empower Marshallese youth and adults to become leaders and role models within their communities, and to that end, has developed a wholistic strategy to increase retention and completions rates within secondary and higher education. MEI works closely with the Manit Club, a culture club for Marshallese college students, and our Advisory Board members to implement these strategies.
Thanks to a generous donation by Tyson Foods, Inc., over the summer and fall of 2016 MEI is developing materials to conduct family/parent workshops, working closely with Manit Club members to strengthen leadership and language skills and cultural knowledge, and mentoring Marshallese students at Hellstern Middle School. Check out our Facebook page as we update the community on our activities and progress.
Marshallese community members have been vocal in their desire to see their children graduate from high school and attend college. The Marshallese high school graduation rate stands around 51% and workers surveyed by MEI hold an average educational attainment level around the 6th grade. According to a Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation survey, approximately 9% of the Marshallese population in Arkansas had some college-level training and only 2% of respondents had acquired an Associate of Arts degree.
MEI’s educational strategy was developed over 3 years and based on interviews with community members, including high school and college students, personal experiences of our Marshallese team members, and the educational expertise of our leaders, who offer more than 25 years of teaching experience in secondary and higher education.
Since summer 2013, MEI has offered enrollment events, financial aid fairs, and scholarship workshops. Since our efforts began, we have seen a 130% increase in college enrollment. In Fall 2014, MEI team members created the Manit Club, an organization made up of Marshallese college students from local colleges and universities. Though the number of Marshallese college students is few (around 30), these emerging leaders are actively engaged in joint outreach activities to encourage educational attainment and increase awareness of mantin Majol (Marshallese culture).
Please visit our Facebook page for future announcements re:
Marshallese Youth Empowerment Day, April 30, 2016 – Jones Center for Families, 12-4 PM
Marshallese Back to School Event, August 6, 2016
and Manit Day on October 1, 2016.
MEI welcomes partnerships and sponsorships.
Language and Culture Classes:
MEI offers a 12 hour, intensive language course and culture course for the non-Marshallese speaker for a fee (see Services above for more information). We also offer free classes to young Marshallese who want to learn more about the culture and history of their islands and to hone their Marshallese language skills.
Please contact MEI for more information.
Manit Club members, UA officials, and MEI worked together to bring Marshallese students on campus for a visit on April 23rd. View additional photos and videos of the event on our FB page.
Manit Club students meet at the MEI office (left) and MEI’s Educational Outreach Coordinator Benetick Kabua Maddison poses with Islander Club students from Enid High School (below) following a presentation by MEI about the nuclear legacy.