Michelle Obama’s Let Girls Learn

Michelle Obama ought to know about the importance of education for girls from poor backgrounds. After all, she is the inspiration behind Let Girls Learn, an international effort to channel disadvantaged adolescents towards university. In pursuit of those aims, she came to London in June, accompanied by her daughters and her mother.

And the First Lady’s message was clear – girls from poorer backgrounds need all the help they can get if they are to get the most out of their education. And the rewards for them of success at school are huge – for the girls themselves, for their families, and for society at large.

Michelle Obama wrote a great piece for the Financial Times explaining why she was so passionate about helping girls through school. Many of the things she said could have been written about the Harinder Veriah Trust. She said:

“Girls’ education is an urgent economic issue. Studies show that each additional year a girl attends school can increase her earning power by 10 to 20 per cent, and that sending more girls to secondary school can boost a country’s entire economy.

“Right now, more than 62m girls around the world are out of school — a heartbreaking injustice that deprives these girls of the chance to develop their potential. Too often, young women face insurmountable barriers to attend school: unaffordable school fees; early and forced marriage and pregnancy; and societal beliefs that girls are simply less worthy of an education than boys.But for me, this is not just about policy or economics. This is deeply personal, because I come to this issue not just as a first lady but as a mother.

“Every time I meet these girls on my travels abroad, I am blown away by their passion, intelligence and hunger to learn — and I cannot help but see my daughters in them. Like my own girls, each of these young women has the spark of something extraordinary inside. “The only difference is that my girls have had the opportunity to develop their promise.

“I intend to use my remaining time as first lady — and beyond — to rally leaders across the globe to join us in this work. Because every girl, no matter where she lives, deserves the opportunity to develop the promise inside of her.”

Hear hear! Now it’s your turn to help…

— Paul Webster

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