Former first lady Michelle Obama has launched an international program that aims to support groups and community leaders who work to educate girls around the world, she announced on Thursday morning.
The Global Girls Alliance is a collective of smaller, grassroots organizations working to get girls in school and get them educated, officials said. In her role, Obama will work through the Obama Foundation to highlight those groups, promote their work and steer donors their way.
“When you educate a girl, you educate a family, a community, a country,” she said during an interview on the “Today” show, where she announced the initiative. She added,
According to the foundation, the alliance has 1,400 members. And while there is no overall fundraising amount, some of the organizations have individual goals, which are outlined on a GoFundMe page.
“We want to lift up the grassroots leaders in communities all over the world who are clearing away the hurdles that too many girls face,” Obama said in a statement. “Because the evidence is clear: educating girls isn’t just good for the girls, it’s good for all of us.”
The announcement signals how Obama will use her influence as a former first lady now that she has been out of the White House for more than a year.
It is the first program Obama has launched through the foundation, which is based in the South Side community where she worked and lived. In addition to its programming, the foundation is responsible for constructing the Obama Presidential Center.
During her visits to Chicago, Obama has spoken about her vision for the center and said that it would bring public art to a community with struggling neighborhoods that need it. But aside from her visits, where she often makes time to sit and talk with high school students, Obama has been mostly quiet since the family left the White House.
Obama grew up in the South Side’s South Shore neighborhood and touts her Chicago upbringing in nearly every public speech. She was once the primary breadwinner for her family. Yet, her law career was placed on hold when her husband became president and she focused instead on programs promoting girls and healthy children. As first lady, she charmed and delighted the public in speeches, interviews and appearances.
After the family left the White House, she said she was looking forward to returning to a normal life.
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SOURCE: Chicago Tribune, Lolly Bowean