“The first lady’s Let Girls Learn initiative is coming to Morocco in June. And we need you to connect them with some girls from your village.”
Imagine receiving this call from your boss. The joy, excitement, and anxiousness that surged through me during that phone call and the succeeding weeks leading up to the event are too much to describe. I immediately set to work reaching out to the girls of my community that exemplified the qualities the program was looking for: passionate about education, outgoing, exceptional English skills, and ambitious. Within the week, three of my four nominees were accepted into the program and the work began. Meeting with the girls several times a week to practice public speaking, self-promotion, goal setting, and much more, the girls began to blossom with excitement of their own as the event drew nearer. Not daring to assume my involvement with the program to be anything more than logistical, I was ecstatic to later learn that my role would include chaperoning the girls to, from, and during the event.
The three day event in Marrakech, including a round table with the first lady, Michelle Obama (and surprise guests Meryl Streep, Frieda Pinto, and Isha Sesay), dinner at the ambassador’s house, and field trips to learning centers was only the begin of what was to be an ongoing journey of education and opportunity for the 23 program participants, my three girls included!
In October, the girls were invited to Washington D.C. to screen the CNN documentary that was filmed during the First Lady’s tour with Let Girls Learn and featured several of the girls. The weeklong exchange program was the first time most of the girls had been out of Morocco. They were invited to the White House, taken to the freshly opened National Museum of African American History and Culture, and promoted the Let Girls Learn program.
The program formally came to a close earlier this year. The girls and mentors (that’s me!) reunited one last time for a mentorship weekend. Professional women from across Morocco came together to share their stories and career paths with the girls. We knew it was our last time all together and spent our days opening up with each other and our nights dancing and laughing, bright with hope for the future.
Between each of these events, my girls and I worked together in the village to continue leadership development by inspiring others to persevere despite obstacles to learning. Of the 23 program participants, my girls were some of the only ones from a rural area in the country. I am proud of the young women they are becoming and excited to watch their lives unfold.
Let girls shine;
Let girls speak;
Let girls learn!
To read more about our year long journey and the programs we did in my community, please visit http://passportandpack.tumblr.com/search/let+girls+learn