First Lady Michelle Obama visited Kakata, Liberia Monday, kicking off her “Let Girls Learn” initiative. The goal is to encourage young women at a local girls leadership camp to stay in school. She was joined by her teen daughters Sasha and Malia on the trip.
The Associated Press reports the trio was literally given the red carpet treatment and welcomed by traditional dancers. Then, Obama met with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf – the first female elected as a head of state in Africa.
In her meeting with the camp, Obama told the girls she was “just so thrilled to be here with you” and she was “here to shine a big bright light on you.”
Harris Tarnue, principal of Booker Washington Institute, told the AP mid-term exams were scheduled to begin June 28 but were suspended “to allow the students to give Mrs. Obama a rousing welcome to appreciate what the United States has done for us.”
He added, “She will be a real inspiration to the young girls around here.”
It was the first of three stops, with a visit to Morocco Tuesday and Spain to follow on Wednesday. The trips have been documented on the first lady’s official Snapchat account – which was launched to allow American students to follow the visits, according to CNN.
Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told the website the trip “will allow the first lady to reach directly to publics of three important U.S. partners and talk about an issue that is important to all of us: The education of girls, and the empowerment of women and girls more broadly.”
Michelle Obama’s office announced Monday the United States Agency for International Development will dedicate up to $27 million to “Let Girls Learn.” Funds will go toward expanding the initiative in Liberia with new trainees and volunteers focused on education and the country’s educational programs.
View video detailing Liberia’s girls’ education issue below.