“Interesting Insta” is a blog post series that exhibits my shameless love for Instagram with some cross-cultural context. #Enjoy!
As most of us are aware, First Lady Michelle Obama’s own Let Girls Learn initiative has been an overwhelming success in a number of Peace Corps countries. However, she’s eager to do more (because she’s amazeballs). Along with her daughters, mother, Meryl Streep, and Freida Pinto, FLOTUS traversed to Liberia, Morocco, and Spain on her mission to “let girls learn.”
During her two-day swing through Morocco, she provided details of the nearly $100 million being donated to girls’ education by the foreign aid agency, Millennium Challenge Corporation. Aides said the money will broadly be used for mentoring programs, internships, after-school clubs, upgraded girls’ bathrooms, and gender-responsive training for teachers. Obama also plans to make Morocco the 36th Let Girls Learn country, which is awesome for both the girls, and for incoming Peace Corps Volunteers like me! She also discussed a sum of $400,000 from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) that will be used to build five girls’ dormitories.
According to the CIA’s World Factbook, the literacy rate for 15-year-old Moroccans is 79 percent for males and 59 percent for females. School attendance by girls in Morocco plummets after primary school, especially in rural areas, where they are often forced to work as maids or farmhands. Not only does educating girls help the girls themselves, but studies show that girls’ education enriches those around them, too. Educated girls earn higher salaries, help increase a country’s GDP, marry later, and are less likely to contract malaria and HIV.
On FLOTUS’s personal Instagram page, she posted a number of photos depicting her time in Morocco with Streep and Pinto. Plus, her interview with Moroccan girls and personal account of her time in Liberia, Morocco, and Spain are exceedingly inspiring reads. I’m going to miss calling her my First Lady!
"I will not stop, and I will carry on to help girls to achieve their dreams and to carry on education." -Karima Er-Reyahy from Essaouira, Morocco. Despite many hardships from a young age, Karima overcame these challenges and became the first in her family to graduate high school. Now enrolled in college, she hopes to one day become a teacher herself, and is currently working with the @PeaceCorps GLOW Camp to support girls who are trying to overcome barriers and achieve their dreams. #LetGirlsLearn
"My mom inspires me. I'd like to achieve what she couldn't and wanted to do. My dream is to eventually get my doctorate and one day help other girls across Morocco." -Fouzia Toukart from a small town outside of Marrakesh. Like many of her peers in her small village, Fouzia was pushed to get married and have children — but she had a brighter future planned for herself, and ended up as the top student in her class. Today, she's in her final year at college and wants to one day be a translator. #LetGirlsLearn
"In our community boys are always dominating in the science and tech field — and I want to show them that girls are smart, and to say, 'step out of the way – we're coming through, we are going to make it to the top.'" -Karima Lakouz from Ouarzazte, Morrocco. After high school Karima wants to become an electrical engineer. #LetGirlsLearn
These girls want to be doctors, entrepreneurs and engineers. One wants to be a politician fighting for the rights of young women and working to combat climate change. Another dreams of opening an auto shop focused on helping women learn about cars so they can become more independent. Follow along as we share these stories from girls across Morocco. #LetGirlsLearn
"Every girls' story is personal and unique." Yesterday, Meryl Streep and @freidapinto joined the First Lady in Morocco to talk with girls from across the country. As champions for girls' education, they understand the importance of making sure every girl on this planet can have the same opportunity to fulfill and shape her own destiny. See more from today's #LetGirlsLearn trip on the First Lady's Snapchat 👻'MichelleObama'
Yesterday, in Marrakesh, Morocco the First Lady spoke with a group of young girls to hear their stories and discuss what inspires them to pursue their biggest dreams in times when their family or culture may not always support them. In Morocco, 98% of children here attend elementary school – but many from rural areas don't make it through high school because school is miles away, or they wind up staying home to help with household labor and often get married at a young age. #LetGirlsLearn