Obamas encourage world to Let girls learn At left. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama announce their Let Girls Learn initiative (AP photo / Thinkstock)
Obamas encourage world to Let girls learn
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Saying every girl "has value," President Barack Obama has announced a more focused government effort to help tens of millions of girls around the world. The effort would focus on girls attending and staying in school. Michelle Obama said she will go to Japan and Cambodia to promote it.

The president said that, as the father of "two fabulous, extraordinary, awesome young women," he wants to help make sure that "no girl out there is denied her chance to be a strong, capable woman." Yet more than 60 million girls are being denied schooling for a variety of reasons, he said.

Obama said the U.S. works quietly to support educating girls. But its many programs must become a single, coordinated strategy.

"We're making it clear to any country ... that they need to get serious about increasing the number of girls in school," Obama said. He announced the "Let Girls Learn" initiative. He was at the White House with the first lady standing beside him.

Mrs. Obama said the issue is personal for her.

"I see myself in these girls. I see our daughters in these girls."

The Obamas are parents of teenagers Malia, 16, and Sasha, 13. The Obamas say their own success would have been impossible without education. During their travels, they encourage young people to focus on education. In the U.S., Mrs. Obama urges students to pursue education after high school.

As part of the effort, Mrs. Obama said her office and the Peace Corps will work jointly. They want to highlight community-based solutions.

The Peace Corps already has thousands of volunteers at work. They are stationed in more than 60 developing countries. Its "Let Girls Learn" program will begin in Albania, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Georgia, Ghana, Moldova, Mongolia, Mozambique, Togo and Uganda.

Mrs. Obama will travel to Tokyo and Kyoto, Japan, from March 18-20. Then she will go to Siem Reap in northwestern Cambodia from March 21-22.

The first lady said she will visit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's wife, Akie. The Japanese first lady "shares our passion for girls' education and is eager to partner with us in this work."

In Cambodia, Mrs. Obama said she will meet with Peace Corps volunteers. She will visit a school where "community-driven solutions are changing girls' lives."

Cambodia is an interesting choice for the first lady.

In late 2012, Barack Obama became the first U.S. president to visit Cambodia. Cambodia has been led since 1985 by Prime Minister Hun Sen. He has a reputation for ruthlessness. There is low tolerance for opposition.

Mrs. Obama said the new initiative is as much about students in the U.S. as it is about educating girls abroad. She said she wants to help youngsters in America learn about the sacrifices girls around the world make to get their education.

"I want our young people to be awed by these girls. But more importantly I want them to be inspired and motivated by these girls," Mrs. Obama said.

Critical thinking challenge: Why do the President and First Lady think it is important to focus on this issue?

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COMMENTS (67)
  • MerizaldeJoseph-DiB
    3/10/2015 - 07:51 p.m.

    Girls should be able to learn They are people too and people always treat them like they're not especially back in the days women have just as much right and potential to do great things just like men

  • Kaylab-5
    3/11/2015 - 01:55 a.m.

    This article is about the "Let Girls Learn" campaign, supported by the President and the First Lady. This campaign is going to be worldwide supporting girls education. As of today there are 60 million girls being denied of an education and they want to change that. Michelle Obama is going to Japan and Cambodia to speak about this with the other first ladies. I support this thoroughly and It would be amazing if every girl in the world was to be granted with an education. Learning is very important and without it, our economy would not be standing today.

  • MCS2001softball
    3/11/2015 - 08:50 a.m.

    I think that it is fabulous that President and Mrs. Obama find the issue of girls' education so important, as other presidents before us have simply ignored the issue to put it on the down-low. Cambodia should be an interesting trip, as the Prime Minister has "little tolerance for opposition." Still, I am so happy that someone is pursuing this issue.

  • OrtizNilssonDante-DiB
    3/11/2015 - 09:40 a.m.

    Both Obama's are trying to do their best to help support girls get a better education. Also learn more so they can become even more important in today's society.

  • Ze20010501
    3/11/2015 - 01:03 p.m.

    the presdient and the first lady both think it is important to fix their issue because if they dont the people in the united states wont like him

  • Ashley-Gil
    3/11/2015 - 03:14 p.m.

    I think that it is a good thing that the President and First Lady are focusing on education, because there are a lot of people who don't get a good enough education and don't get to live the kind of life that they want to live because of it. They are focusing on education, because they wouldn't be where they are without education and they want other people to get that chance.

  • ns117-Sch
    3/11/2015 - 09:35 p.m.

    In response to "Obama's encourage world to Let girls learn, I agree that girls all over the world should have the right to learn. On reason I agree is that is if boys can go to school to educate themselves, girls should be able too. Despite the fact that there is some people who think that boys are smarter, I think that is not true at all. Another reason is that "girls can be strong capable women", but some places are not letting them reach their full potential. Some people believe that girls should be at home, doing house work all day; however it is important for them to be smart and have knowledge as well. The third reason is that the world needs more educated and smart people and "60 million" of the girls in the world do not go to school. Even though that some places do not allow girls to go to school, in would benefit them more for the girls to go to school and get a education and then get a job or even work for the government. In conclusion I think that girls all over the world should go to school.

  • cF00oKc
    3/12/2015 - 08:46 a.m.

    i dont know why girls drop of school for wha do they feel when they go home seeing that they will never be in school of people maybe they dont like or its to hard for them to pay attenion in classes.also he should make it for boys and girls to learn.

  • as317-Sch
    3/12/2015 - 12:29 p.m.

    In response to "Obamas encourage world to 'Let girls learn'," I agree that we should "let girls learn". One reason I agree is that girls have the same rights as men. Even though there are movies that show girls as being the pretty ones with no brains, some girls made very impressive inventions. Another reason is that it says in the article "... more than 60 million girls are being denied schooling for a variety of reasons." The article doesn't specify the reasons, but either way, if it's sexism or if the girls aren't smart enough, the Obamas can help with that. Some people think that girls are less powerful and smart than men, but to be honest, a study shows that recently women have been beating men in IQ tests. A third reason is that if we have smarter women in our country, we'll have a better place to live and more. Some people think that women are just supposed to stay home and be a mom when they grow up, but after that, they need a career to support their family. Even though people think that women are worse than men, I think that we are equals.

  • morganr-Tho
    3/12/2015 - 02:22 p.m.

    I think that they want to help more people because it is the president's last few years and they would like to be remembered as the good presidents of the united states and they have daughters of there own so ma by they might know that gild should 'LEARN'!

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