Right now, 62 million girls across the globe are not in school. These girls are our future doctors, teachers, and entrepreneurs – they are the dreamers and visionaries who could change the world as we know it if they just had the chance to get the education they need. This issue is personal for me, because I see myself in these girls. I see my daughters in these girls. And I refuse to just sit back and accept the barriers that keep them from realizing their boundless promise. That is why I am thrilled to announce that we're expanding our efforts to “Let Girls Learn" with a new, community-focused girls' education initiative across the globe. Through this new effort, we'll be collaborating with the Peace Corps to support hundreds of new community projects – from building school libraries to creating girls' technology camps - to help girls go to school and stay in school. But while our focus is international, I also want to be very clear that for me, this work isn't just about improving girls' education abroad. It's also about reminding our young people of the hunger they should be feeling for their own education here at home. I want kids here in the U.S. to be inspired by girls worldwide who are making such sacrifices and overcoming such great obstacles to get their education.We owe these girls, and girls like them around the world, an education worthy of their dreams, so I hope you'll join this movement. — First Lady Michelle Obama
Look at these faces!
They are the faces of girls who are beautiful inside and out. They are the faces of girls who deserve a future worth looking forward to, not one they'll dread.
They have dreams. They love to have fun.
They like to learn. They want to grow up and have options.
But because those faces belong to girls, the future could be bleak for them.
Girls are much more likely than boys to remain uneducated. Hopeful young girls have the school doors closed in their faces, literally and figuratively.
Worldwide, there are 31 million elementary school girls out of school. There are another 34 million lower secondary school (junior high) girls out of school. (You can fact check those overwhelming figures here.) And we don't even know how many high-school-aged girls aren't being educated.
What does a lack of education mean to many girls?
It means girls are much more likely to get married way too young.
Check out these figures: If all girls across the world completed elementary school, child marriages would go down 14%. If they all completed the equivalent of junior high, that number would go down by 66%.
It means girls are more likely to have babies well before they are emotionally or physically prepared.
It's hard to learn this statistic and not feel moved: "Almost 60% fewer girls would become pregnant under 17 years in sub-Saharan Africa and South and West Asia if they all had a secondary education."
Don't feel hopeless. These girls' stories can have happy endings!
Education changes everything for girls around the world. Fewer would die during childbirth, their children would suffer less malnutrition, they would make more money, and they would be able to make decisions for themselves.
This is an investment worth making.
Not only does every single girl deserve a shot at a bright future, but girls and women make communities stronger and richer. Let's help give them a chance. And let's remind girls here in the U.S. how important an education is! You can spread the word by sharing this post. — Team Upworthy