Michelle Obama condemns kidnapping
WASHINGTON (AP) – Michelle Obama today decried the kidnapping of scores of Nigerian schoolgirls who have been missing for nearly a month and used their plight to speak out for the rights of girls everywhere to get an education.
Delivering the weekly presidential radio and Internet address on the eve of the holiday honouring mothers, the first lady and mother of two said that, like millions of people around the world, she and President Barack Obama are “outraged and heartbroken” over the April 15 abduction of nearly 300 girls from their dormitory.
She asked the nation to pray for their safe return and stressed the importance of education.
“In these girls, Barack and I see our own daughters,” Mrs Obama said in the five-minute address, referring to Malia, 15, and Sasha, 12. “We see their hopes, their dreams, and we can only imagine the anguish their parents are feeling right now.”
She said what happened more than three weeks ago in Nigeria was not an isolated incident, but “a story we see every day as girls around the world risk their lives to pursue their ambitions”.
Mrs. Obama mentioned Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager who survived a gunshot to the head as she travelled to school in 2012. Malala has become an outspoken advocate for the rights of all girls to get an education.
More than 65 million girls worldwide do not attend school, even though educated women earn more money, have healthier families and provide a boost to their countries’ economies, the first lady noted.
“So education is truly a girl’s best chance for a bright future, not just for herself, but for her family and her nation,” Mrs Obama said.
She expressed hope that events in Nigeria will inspire boys and girls across the United States to take getting an education seriously.