Michelle Obama: Educate every girl


On my final trip overseas as first lady, I visited a high school in Unification Town, a small village about an hour outside Liberia's capital city of Monrovia. There, I sat in a classroom where the only light came from the cloudy, rainy sky outside. As heavier clouds rolled in, the entire room dimmed, and I began to find it difficult to make out faces across even a short distance.

What I remember most from that day, though, couldn't be more clear: It's the promise inside each of those girls -- girls who show up every day to learn. They show up even after walking for miles or waking up early to earn some extra money to help pay their school fees. They show up even though their families depend on them to take care of younger siblings, cook meals, and ensure their household is running smoothly. They show up even though many are pressured to marry as adolescents, sidetracking their own goals for a man's.

The girls in that school are joined by millions of others who aren't able to get an education at all -- today, more than 98 million adolescent girls around the world are not in school. The reasons for this are many, including scarce resources, early pregnancies, dangerous commutes, and threats of violence.