Not long before the end of the Obama presidency, I saw a wonderful documentary called “We Will Rise” in which Michelle Obama, Meryl Streep, Freida Pinto and Isha Sesay met with young girls in Morocco and Liberia to talk about opportunities and barriers in their attempts to get an education. Hearing the voices of the young women and girls was deeply moving and inspiring.
The documentary is available on Amazon, if you haven’t seen it. Well worth the time, and it will elevate your spirits and sense of hope.
Need I contrast with our current First Lady in Africa, dressed like the aristocratic Karen Blixen from the film “Out of Africa”, whining that she is the most bullied person in the world, and bringing us no African women or girls’ voices at all?
Back to things that matter. Michelle Obama has returned to being an advocate for educating girls around the globe. The Obama Foundation’s Global Girls Alliance is focused on the 150 million girls currently denied the chance to go to school.
“But this time, in keeping with her previous work in bringing new actors—big and small, corporate and nonprofit—to girls’ education, Mrs. Obama’s return promises to create space for civic action, youth and community leadership, and investment by everyday citizens in the education of marginalized girls globally. With her and the Obama Foundation’s missionto connect local girls’ education leaders to each other and to lift up the inspiring voices of girls themselves, the girls’ education ecosystem will remain anchored to the individuals whom global political momentum aims to empower.”
I love all of this. Michelle Obama has a striking ability to talk face to face with women and girls wherever they are, and to inspire their trust that change is possible. She and President Obama bring financial support, connections, and star power to the initiative. All of the research on economic development shows that when women and girls thrive, families thrive, small businesses are started, and the economic empowerment of communities rural and urban begins to flourish.
The Obamas took a much needed break after being our First Family in the White House for eight years. Now they’re back. I’m glad to see it, and will be cheering them on.