8 Sep 2016: Barack Obama and his better half, Michelle Obama, are extending an ambitious program to Nepal and Laos. Called Let Girls Learn, the program aims to ensure quality education for adolescent girls as a means to empowering women so that they can live their lives in dignity.
The multi-agency US government initiative was first announced by the President and First Lady in March last year. It seeks to tackle issues that stop “adolescent girls from attaining a quality education that empowers them to reach their full potential”. It is already running in a few countries but Nepal and Laos are its latest beneficiaries as announced by President Obama yesterday.
A White House media release on the presidential remarks made on September 7 at Souphanouvong University in Laos confirms that he and his wife are actively working to bring the program to Nepal as well as to Laos.
“In too many countries now, women and girls are not getting the same educational opportunities as men and boys. And research shows that when girls get an education, not only do they grow up healthier, but her children will grow up healthier also. Not only will she become more prosperous, but her community will become more prosperous,” Mr Obama said while making the announcement in front of the university audience.
Michelle Obama also took to her twitter account to make a simultaneous announcement. The president had earlier indicated that it was his wife who was more engaged in bringing the program to Nepal and Laos – “this is a program that I’m working on, but more importantly, my wife is working on.”
Speaking at the White House Summit on Global Development in July 2015, President Obama had highlighted what he expected to achieve through the program, “Let girls learn so they can help start new ventures and drive economies. Let girls learn so that they can invest in their communities. Let girls learn so they can be safe from violence and abuse. Let girls learn so they can realize their dreams. Because when women have equal futures, families and communities and countries are stronger. When they get an education, that means their children are getting an education. This is a fact.”
People in target nations who wish to learn more about the program can do so by visiting the following US government website: letgirlslearn.gov