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Michelle Obama Pushes for Girls' Education in Liberia

  • VOA News

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama (L) is welcomed by Peace Corp teachers and students at a project 70 kilometers (43 miles) from the capital city Monrovia in Kakata, Liberia, June 27, 2016.

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama (L) is welcomed by Peace Corp teachers and students at a project 70 kilometers (43 miles) from the capital city Monrovia in Kakata, Liberia, June 27, 2016.

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama visited a leadership camp for girls Monday in Liberia, part of an effort to promote girls' education in Africa.

Obama met with young women in Kakata at a project sponsored by the Peace Corps, after receiving a red-carpet welcome in Liberia's capital that included traditional dancers.

Earlier in the day, she met with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first elected woman head of state in Africa.

The U.S. first lady is traveling with her daughters — Malia, 18, who graduated from high school this year, and Sasha, 15 — as well as the girls' grandmother, Marian Robinson.

Their six-day trip includes stops in Morocco and Spain, and will highlight Let Girls Learn, one of Michelle Obama's core initiatives. The program addresses obstacles — such as forced marriage, poverty and violence — that keep more than 62 million girls globally out of school.

Actress Meryl Streep is scheduled to join Obama and her party Tuesday and Wednesday in Morocco for a conversation on helping girls go to school. About 85 percent of the North African country's girls are enrolled in primary school, but only 14 percent attend high school.

The final destination abroad is Spain, a longtime U.S. ally that, the White House noted, has dealt with "significant" economic challenges in recent years.

By visiting the three countries, Michelle Obama "is able to speak not just to government [officials], but to speak to people and to make clear that … a key part of our leadership is what we can do to lift up the lives of young people, particularly girls," said White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes.

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