First Lady promotes girls education in Africa
Associated Press | 7/2/2016, 12:09 a.m.
First Lady Michelle Obama visited a leadership camp for girls Monday in Liberia to launch her latest visit to Africa, urging the teens in one of the world’s poorest countries to keep fighting to stay in school.
With her own teenage daughters joining her, Mrs. Obama told the girls she was “just so thrilled to be here with you.”
“I’m here to shine a big bright light on you,” she said.
Education for girls is the central theme of the first lady’s trip, which also includes stops in Morocco and Spain. She was welcomed on her arrival in Liberia with a red carpet and traditional dancers.
In connection with Mrs. Obama’s visit, USAID announced up to $27 million in funding for Liberia programming for Let Girls Learn, an initiative launched by President and Mrs. Obama last year.
The first lady is traveling with her mother and daughters Malia, 18, who recently graduated from high school, and Sasha, 15.
Liberia was battered by civil wars between 1989 and 2003. Ebola swept the country in 2014, killing more than 4,800 people. Schools were closed for months.
The country was founded as part of an effort to resettle freed American slaves and has deep ties to the United States. The country’s oldest vocational high school, located in Kakata, is named for famed educator and orator Booker T. Washington.
The school suspended mid-term exams scheduled to start Monday “to allow the students to give Mrs. Obama a rousing welcome to appreciate what the United States has done for us,” principal Harris Tarnue said.
“She will be a real inspiration to the young girls around here,” he said.
Mrs. Obama’s previous visits to Africa as first lady included Ghana, South Africa, Botswana, Senegal and Tanzania.