Marrakesh, Morocco (TMT)- The U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama and her two daughters, Malia and Sasha will arrive to Marrakesh next Tuesday as part of the Let Girls Learn initiative, a program launched by US President Obama and his wife to encourage developing nations to educate girls who don’t attend school.
A statement from the White House said that on Tuesday, the First Lady and her daughters will participate in a conversation with Moroccan adolescent girls to discuss the many challenges girls in Morocco face in getting a quality education, a discussion moderated by CNN’s Isha Sesay.
One of the reasons the Let Girls Learn initiative is focusing on Morocco emanates from the fact that Morocco has been a longstanding partner of the United States on a range of issues, including the fact that Morocco has been a critical counterterrorism partner for the United States, the White House statement read.
“They’ve been a partner in addressing some of the myriad diplomatic challenges that confront the Middle East and North Africa,” including Morocco being a country “relatively stable and successful in a very difficult neighborhood,” the statement added.
The White House’s statement said that In Morocco, “adolescent girls face a particular threat in rural areas where they’re simply not allowed to go to secondary school. Often these girls live very far from the middle schools and the high schools and have to travel great distances to get there, and their families simply don’t prioritize paying the schools fees for them over boys. So we have an incredibly high drop-out rate of girls from school. And while we have about 85 percent of girls enrolled in primary school, that number drops to as low as 14 percent for high schools.”
“Morocco ranks one of the lowest countries in the Arab world for overall education, their girls’ education rates are well below the regional averages. So part of our effort there is focused on what more we can do to cooperate with the government to ensure that we’re expanding education opportunities for adolescent girls, particularly in these rural areas,” the White House statement noted.
The First Lady will also attend an Iftar hosted by Lalla Salma, the statement closed.
The Moroccan Times.