According to a story published Monday by CNN, the education program that launched in 2015 to help educate underprivileged adolescent girls in poorer countries will “cease operation immediately.”
“Moving forward, we will not continue to use the ‘Let Girls Learn’ brand or maintain a stand-alone program,” Sheila Crowley, the director of the program reportedly wrote in an email sent to the Peace Corps, which ran the program with the U.S. Agency for International Development. “‘Let Girls Learn’ provided a platform to showcase Peace Corps’ strength in community development, shining a bright light on the work of our volunteers all over the world. We are so proud of what ‘Let Girls Learn’ accomplished and we have all of you to thank for this success.”
People on Twitter expressed their dismay.
— Jesse Lehrich (@JesseLehrich) May 1, 2017
— Shannon Coulter (@shannoncoulter) May 1, 2017
— Brad Ripka (@WaltThatcher) May 1, 2017
Before the November election, the Obama administration had worked hard to publicize the importance of the program. In June 2016, celebrities Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto accompanied Michelle Obama to Morocco to participate in a panel discussion with young girls. And, according to the White House in October 2016, the program had invested more than $1 billion in girls’ education programs happening in more than 50 countries.
“This is personal for me,” Michelle Obama said of the program in October 2016, at the Newseum in Washington D.C., according to the Washington Post. “I wouldn’t be here — not just in this chair, but in the life that I have — without my education.”
She added, “You see me now as the first lady, but there are still doubts. There are people who questioned whether I would be a good first lady . . . people who questioned whether I was strategic enough or whether my initiatives would have an impact. All throughout my life there are people who have underestimated me.”
Yahoo Beauty could not reach a representative for Let Girls Learn or the Peace Corps for comment; however, there may be hope for the program. A representative of the Peace Corps told CNN, “The Peace Corps continues to prioritize girls’ education and empowerment programming. Girls’ education and empowerment has been a hallmark of our work over the past 56 years, and we look forward to continuing those efforts with our interagency partners. We remain dedicated to the passionate work of our volunteers and staff to empower and educate girls in their communities.”
The demise of Let Girls Learn was the second blow to the former administration on Monday, with another cause close to Michelle Obama’s heart being affected: healthy school lunches. Sonny Perdue, the secretary of agriculture, announced a delay on a requirement that school lunches must contain lower amounts of sodium, and Perdue relaxed rules regarding how many whole grains are served at school. Cafeterias can also now serve 1 percent milk, as opposed to nonfat milk.
In 2010, the former first lady launched the Let’s Move campaign to encourage kids to get in more physical activity and eat healthier. Former President Barack Obama kicked off the initiative by creating the Task Force on Childhood Obesity, which reviewed every single policy relating to childhood physical activity and nutrition, per the government website. Hollywood even got involved — Beyoncé showed off her workout moves in an Instagram post dedicated to the policy’s fifth anniversary.
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