Michelle Obama is passionate about many things, but one of her missions is personal. Michelle spoke candidly during her CNN documentary film titled We Will Rise: Michelle Obama’s Mission to Educate Girls Around the World. “For me, education has never been simply a policy issue — it’s personal. Neither of my parents and hardly anyone in the neighborhood where I grew up went to college. But thanks to a lot of hard work and plenty of financial aid, I had the opportunity to attend some of the finest universities in this country. That education opened so many doors and gave me the confidence to pursue my ambitions and have a voice in the world.”
“That’s why I decided to work on global girls’ education as the First Lady: because right now, there are tens of millions of girls like Malala in every corner of the globe who are not in school — girls who are so bright, hardworking and hungry to learn. And that’s the mission of the “Let Girls Learn” initiative we launched last year: It’s a global effort to give these girls the education they need to fulfill their potential and lift up their families, communities, and countries.”
Let the Girls Learn was established in 2015, leveraging top departments including the Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Peace Corps, and many others to put their minds and resources together to help prevent adolescent girls from missing out on education.
The initiative is aimed at solving the ongoing challenges preventing young women from gaining access to education through political will, diplomacy, and grassroots efforts to build a lasting catalyst of change.
Since the launch of the program, Let the Girls Learn has made some incredible strides in improving educational access across the globe. One of the earliest wins was at the beginning of the project when Michelle traveled to London to announce $200 million dollars pledged for girls’ camps and community projects around the world, including development aid in the Democratic Republic of the Congo said to benefit more than 750,000 teenagers.
The movement didn’t stop there. In fact, Afghanistan joined the team offering an apprentice program for young teachers; Liberia and Morocco announced their interest in helping young women in their country learn; and USAID pledged to build 25 new school houses aimed at educating 25,000 students each year.
Just this month on International Day of the Girl, The First Lady announced the White House’s comprehensive strategy, laying out the details and benefits of investing in adolescent girls. In addition, a contribution of more than 5 million dollars has been set aside by the private sector to help battle the challenges that young women face while pursuing an education.
As the Obama administration comes to an end, many are wondering how Michelle’s “personal” project will move forward. While it’s true that some of the financial support has come from the American government, Michelle was wise in the long-term outlook of her project.
With the majority of her backers being from the private sector and outside humanitarian aids, this will allow Let the Girls Learn to continue with minimum impact on the upcoming election and change of government.
Michelle has made it clear that this issue is very dear to her heart, so we can expect that she will continue her crusade to bring education to those less fortunate long after she has left 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.