Today, on International Day of the Girl, Michelle Obama announced the launch of the Global Girls Alliance, an initiative spearheaded by the Obama Foundation to help support and promote girls’ education around the world. In a live interview on the Today show, Obama said, “The stats show that when you educate a girl, you educate a family, a community, a country.”
Data shows that 98 million adolescent girls around the world aren’t in school. That’s a staggering number, and the reasons for it are multifold—poverty, gender discrimination, lack of access to schools, child marriage. Obama’s dedication to furthering the empowerment and education of girls and young women is well documented. Throughout her husband’s presidency, she launched programs like Let Girls Learn, which aimed to recruit government agencies, corporations and nonprofit organizations to invest in girls’ education around the globe, and the social media campaign #62MillionGirls, focused on bringing awareness around the fact that 62 million girls around the world (the recorded statistic in 2015) were being denied an education.
“The world is a sadly dangerous place for women and girls, and we see that again and again,” Obama said on Today, where she was later joined by Jennifer Hudson, Freida Pinto, Karlie Kloss and others. “I think young women are tired of it. They’re tired of being undervalued. They’re tired of being disregarded. They’re tired of their voices not being invested in and heard. And it’s not just around the world, it’s happening right here in this country. And if we’re going to change that, we have to give them the tools and the skills through education to be able to lift those voices up.”
The initiative’s aim is to make it easier for girls around the world to get a quality education, opening the doors to success in whatever field they choose to pursue. “With the Global Girls Alliance, we’ll lift up the grassroots leaders in communities all over the world who are clearing away the hurdles that too many girls face,” Obama wrote in an op-ed for CNN. “These are offering scholarships, launching mentorship programs, preparing girls to become entrepreneurs, and reaching out to parents so girls are supported not just at school, but at home as well.”
The non-profit will also connect organizations around the world with grassroots leaders as well as financial patrons and supporters. “We’ve partnered with GoFundMe to create a new social fundraising platform at GlobalGirlsAlliance.org/donate—a place where anyone, anywhere around the world, can support girls in places like India, Guatemala, or Uganda,” Obama wrote. “We’ve instituted a rigorous process to identify projects that need support, so whether you’re giving a portion of your paycheck or a dollar from a lemonade stand, we don’t take it lightly that you’re donating your hard-earned money to this cause.”
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