First lady Michelle Obama marked the International Day of the Girl Child by chatting via Skype with girls around the world about the importance of getting an education.
“Unlike so many girls around the world, we have a voice,” the first lady said October 11. “That’s why, particularly on this International Day of the Girl, I ask that you use yours to help these girls get the education they deserve.”
She also celebrated the day with 45 girls who she met on her trip to Liberia and Morocco in 2016.
The first lady said the U.S. is investing over $1 billion through new and ongoing efforts and running Let Girls Learn programs in more than 50 countries. She also announced $5 million in new private-sector commitments for the initiative, which she helped launch in 2015.
“This is something I will spend the rest of my life working on and I need good soldiers,” the first lady said during a digital conversation from the Newseum in Washington. Girls from Washington, Jordan, Peru, Tanzania and the United Kingdom participated in the event, which was sponsored by Glamour magazine’s The Girl Project, which offers education help to more than 50 million girls worldwide.
This is the beginning of something huge.—@FLOTUS on #LetGirlsLearn. An educated girl can change the world! #DayoftheGirl pic.twitter.com/02FjA7KcF0
— USAID (@USAID) October 11, 2016
Later that day at the White House, the first lady and her visitors were slated to watch a new CNN film, We Will Rise: Michelle Obama’s Mission to Educate Girls Around the World.
The Let Girls Learn initiative works to bring education to the 62 million girls worldwide who are not in school. In September 2016, she promoted Let Girls Learn to world leaders and their spouses gathered in New York at the United Nations General Assembly.
But it was Michelle Obama’s singing about it with British comedian James Corden on late-night television that got the internet humming along. Riding in a car, Corden and the first lady were joined by Missy Elliott as they sang “This Is For My Girls,” a girl-power anthem that had been recorded earlier by Elliott and a superstar roster of performers. Proceeds from the song go toward girls’ education efforts.
This article draws on reports from the Associated Press.