Michelle Obama to visit Cambodia and Japan to promote girls’ education

Girls' education

First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama will travel to Japan and Cambodia as part a global effort to support education for girls.

She will visit Tokyo and Kyoto from March 18 to 20 and then go to Siem Reap on March 21 and 22. Her trip follows the launch of the Let Girls Learn initiative, which is a collaboration between Mrs Obama and the Peace Corps to expand access to education for adolescent girls around the world. It will start in 11 countries and will build on the investments and progress that the US government has made in global primary school education.

Announcing the programme at the White House on March 3, Mrs Obama said more than 60 million girls and adolescent females are not in school around the world. She told education activists: “You have told me that whatever obstacles these girls face – whether it’s school fees or violence or cultural beliefs that girls simply aren’t worthy of an education – you’ve said that these problems will not be fixed from on high. That these are community challenges that call for community solutions.”

President Barack Obama, who was also at the launch, said: “I’m proud to say that the US already does a great deal to support girls’ education around the world. But what we do, we tend to do quietly. It doesn’t get a lot of publicity. And what we all determined is that we’ve got to take this work to the next level.”

Cambodia is one of the 11 countries featured in the Let Girls Learn initiative. The others are Albania, Benin, Burkina Faso, Georgia, Ghana, Moldova, Mongolia, Mozambique, Togo and Uganda.

In Siem Reap, Mrs Obama will visit a school to see up how community-driven solutions are changing girls’ lives and will also meet Peace Corps volunteers.

During the Japanese leg of the trip, the First Lady will meet Akie Abe, the wife of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. At the Let Girls Learn announcement, Mrs Obama said Mrs Abe “shares her passions and is eager to partner” in the initiative.

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