Obama Ladies Travel to Promote Education for Girls

Afghani girls in school

Girls all over the world are struggling to get the education they deserve.
Image: GPE/Jawad Jalali

Michelle Obama and her daughters Sasha and Malia recently took a six-day tour of North Africa and Spain to promote the “Let Girls Learn” initiative, which hopes to encourage countries across the world to support and value education for women.

In Madrid, the First Lady spoke to about 100 teens, urging them to join the campaign and noting the difficulties they face.

“You see, it is not just about whether parents can afford school fees or countries can build enough schools,” she noted. “It’s also about whether families and communities think that girls are even worthy of education in the first place.”

Let Girls Learn was launched in March 2015 to “address the range of challenges preventing adolescent girls from attaining a quality education that empowers them to reach their full potential.” Since then, it’s earned the support of the Department of State, the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the Peace Corps, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). Their goal is to get 62 million more girls into school all over the world.

Young women face all kinds of challenges when it comes to getting an education. Warzones, negative cultural beliefs, poverty, and HIV are only a few of the situations that keep many girls out of school.

The Obamas’ six-day trip took them from Liberia to Morocco and finally to Spain. They spoke at schools and a Peace Corps-sponsored leadership camp.

“I’m traveling with my mother and my two daughters,” Michelle Obama told her audiences. “This is the special girl-power unit of the Obama household. We left the president behind because he’s a boy.”

But she was quick to point out that men and boys have a place in the fight for education for girls as well. “Today, to all of the men here, I want to be very clear,” Obama added. “We need you. As fathers, as husbands, and simply as human beings, this is your struggle, too.”

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