Michelle Obama will continue to support girls’ education, with or without the White House’s support.
On Monday morning, CNN reported that the Trump administration was cutting her Let Girls Learn initiative, but later that night, a representative from the State Department stated that “there have been no changes to the program.”But Michelle Obama declared today that she’ll still advocate for young women to go to school, despite the program’s uncertain future.
“Barack & I will continue to champion the issues close to our hearts, including girls ed,” she tweeted today, ahead of unveiling plans for the Obama Presidential Center in Chicago.
The former FLOTUS’ tweet arrives two days after CNN obtained a White House memo stating Let Girls Learn will “cease operation immediately.”
An email from the agency’s acting director to the Peace Corps read, “Moving forward, we will not continue to use the ‘Let Girls Learn’ brand or maintain a stand-alone program.”
However, that night, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert assured the program would remain unchanged.
“The Administration supports policies and programs to empower adolescent girls, including efforts to educate them through the completion of secondary school. We are committed to empowering women and girls around the world and are continuing to examine the best ways to do so,” she said.
After the back and forth reports this week, the status of Let Girls Learn remains confusing. Even Michelle Obama’s Chief of Staff, Tina Tchen, isn’t sure what’s coming next.
“I’ll be honest, I’m not sure I can confirm the confusion, since I’m like you, I really only know what’s getting publicly reported or available,” Tchen told BAZAAR.com.
“But I will say, if they’re not going to do Let Girls Learn, I think it’s a missed opportunity and disappointing,” she added. “If they’re going to continue it, we’d be delighted, because it’s an issue that needs a lot of work and advocacy on it, and I’m hopeful that can continue.”
The former first couple launched Let Girls Learn in 2015 to help young women in underprivileged countries pursue their education.
In the fall of 2016, they bolstered financial support for the organization with over $5 million private sector commitments hoping to ensure that the organization would continue after Obama’s presidency.
“We had about a hundred companies and NGOs that made commitments to advance the issue, to make a lot of progress at not a lot of cost to the U.S. government,” Tchen revealed.The former first lady has allies in her ongoing support for girls’ education. In addition to those who criticized the White House’s decision to remove Let Girls Learn, the Peace Corps and United States Agency for International Development (both of which participated in the program) also stated they’ll continue to empower girls around the world.