62 million girls……This is not the number of girls that will graduate high school or enroll into college this year. 62 million is not the number of girls graduating college. 62 million is not the number of women that will enter the workforce this year. Sadly, 62 million is the number of girls worldwide who are denied the right to an education for numerous reasons. When I learned this, while listening to our First Lady Michelle Obama speak at Global Citizen Festival, it really bothered me because I know just how imperative and life altering education can be.
As an educator, I have had the pleasure of mentoring and grooming numerous troubled girls. Some of them were girls who the world had counted out, to be honest, they had counted themselves out. They had internalize all of the negativity that surround them and accepted this as their future. However, the more knowledge they acquired the more they begin to have faith and see their potential. They saw that potential because of one powerful source, knowledge. I know that without education, they (like many other girls) would have become statistics.
On a more personal note, I know what education did for me. As a young girl, I went through several traumatic situations and it was my love for reading that helped me through them. Afraid to speak up, feeling alone and bent (not broken) in millions of directions, I had no confidant so I turned to books. Instead of allowing the pain, embarrassment and anger to consume me and make me bitter, I picked up a book. In these books I found comfort and peace but most of all I found truth. Yes, reading granted me access to the world and it taught me to live outside of my situation. No matter how bad things were (and trust they were bad) I always clung to the fact that there was something greater than what I was going through. I anticipated that greater!!
Education is very important and should be available to all girls because it opens their eyes to the possibilities and fuels their dreams. Had it not been for education, I can only imagine where I might be but I am sure it wouldn’t be here. Without education I never would have realized my PASSION, I never would have found my HAPPINESS, I never would have been able to APPRECIATE my growth process (even the bad) and I never would have learned to be TRUE to myself and others; I never would have became P.H.A.T Girl Fresh.
I am a lot of things but I am a woman first, I advocate for women and girls because I know that womanhood doesn’t greet each of us in the same manner. I know that we (women and girls) are all able to relate in some fashion. I know that sharing our truths with one another is what helps us grow and evolve into our destiny. All of these things collectively is the foundation of P.H.A.T Girl Fresh. A brand created by a queen for queens of all shape sizes and colors.
I totally support the Let Girls Learn initiative that our FLOTUS announced in March. She has partnered with Girl Rising for the 62 million girls social campaign. The First Lady is also asking for us to get involved by posting photos on Twitter and Instagram along with a message about what we learned in school using the hashtag #62milliongirls. The photos will be posted on 62milliongirls.com to highlight the number of girls who aren’t receiving an education.
What Did you learn in school? How did education change your life?