In Pictures: The First Lady’s Trip to Africa and Spain

Imagine being told that you are not allowed to go to school. Imagine being told that an education — one of the most fundamental building blocks for a healthy, long, and fulfilling life — is simply not an option for you. It’s hard, right? But, for millions of girls around the world, it’s a reality. In fact, more than 62 million girls — half of them adolescents — are not in school. Millions more are fighting just to stay there.

These girls deserve a chance to fulfill their potential. All girls deserve that chance.

“A society’s willingness to value women and girls is directly connected to its willingness to invest in them as full people.” — First Lady Michelle Obama, June 30, 2016

That’s why, as part of the Let Girls Learn initiative, First Lady Michelle Obama traveled to Liberia, Morocco, and Spain to meet with young women and girls — and to talk about why getting an education is something that every girl deserves.

Around the world, girls face complex physical, cultural, and financial barriers to education. She may have a long, unsafe walk to school from a remote village. Sometimes, even when a school is nearby, it may not have adequate bathroom facilities for girls-meaning that female students have to stay home when they have their period. And, even after overcoming all of these obstacles, she may face school fees that her family is unwilling or cannot afford to pay.

Yet, we know that educating young girls has a tremendously positive impact on the world. Girls who are educated earn higher salaries, raise healthier families, and can even boost their countries’ economies with their contributions to the workforce. That’s why, when girls receive equal educational opportunities, it can transform lives, families, communities-entire countries. That’s why the stories of the girls the First Lady is meeting with this week are so important to share.

Take a look at her trip in pictures:

First Lady Michelle Obama, along with daughters Sasha and Malia, and Marian Robinson arrive at Monrovia/Roberts International Airport in Monrovia, Liberia, June 27, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)
First Lady Michelle Obama is welcomed by greeters on the tarmac upon the First Family’s arrival at Monrovia/Roberts International Airport in Monrovia, Liberia, June 27, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)
First Lady Michelle Obama, along with daughters Sasha and Malia, and Marian Robinson watch dancers perform on the tarmac upon the First Family’s arrival at Monrovia/Roberts International Airport in Monrovia, Liberia, June 27, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)
First Lady Michelle Obama meets privately with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at Monrovia/Roberts International Airport in Monrovia, Liberia, June 27, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)
School girls welcome First Lady Michelle Obama outside of the Monrovia/Roberts International Airport in Monrovia, Liberia, June 27, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)
Bystanders watch as First Lady Michelle Obama travels via motorcade to the Peace Corps Training Center in Kakata, Liberia, June 27, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)
Bystanders watch as First Lady Michelle Obama travels via motorcade to the Peace Corps Training Center in Kakata, Liberia, June 27, 2016. The First Lady is visiting in support of the Let Girls Learn initiative. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)
First Lady Michelle Obama and Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet participate in a lesson plan about girls’ leadership and self-esteem in support of the Let Girls Learn initiative, at the Peace Corps Training Center in Kakata, Liberia, June 27, 2016. Sasha and Malia Obama and Marian Robinson also attend. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)
First Lady Michelle Obama hugs a student following a lesson plan about girls’ leadership and self-esteem in support of the Let Girls Learn initiative, at the Peace Corps Training Center in Kakata, Liberia, June 27, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)
First Lady Michelle Obama, daughters Sasha and Malia, and Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet visit a Camp GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) health program station for washing hands at the Peace Corps Training Center in Kakata, Liberia, June 27, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)
First Lady Michelle Obama, daughters Sasha and Malia, and Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet visit a Camp GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) health program station for making sanitary napkins at the Peace Corps Training Center in Kakata, Liberia, June 27, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)
First Lady Michelle Obama is welcomed by school girls for a roundtable discussion with Freida Pinto and students, in support of the Let Girls Learn initiative, at R.S. Caulfield Senior High School in Unification Town, Liberia, June 27, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)
Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf hugs students prior to a Let Girls Learn roundtable discussion, along with First Lady Michelle Obama, at R.S. Caulfield Senior High School in Unification Town, Liberia, June 27, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)
First Lady Michelle Obama, Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto participate in a conversation with girls, moderated by CNN’s Isha Sesay, in support of the Let Girls Learn initiative, at Dar Diafa Restaurant in Marrakech, Morocco, June 28, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)
First Lady Michelle Obama, Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto and Isha Sesay join hands in celebration after a CNN interview and rountable discussion, in support of the Let Girls Learn initiative, at Dar Diafa Restaurant in Marrakech, Morocco, June 28, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)
First Lady Michelle Obama, daughters Sasha and Malia, and Marian Robinson join Princess Lalla Salma for Iftar at the Royal Palace in Marrakech, Morocco, June 28, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)
First Lady Michelle Obama meets with Queen Letizia at the Royal Cottage in Madrid, Spain, June 30, 2016, following their remarks in support of the Let Girls Learn initiative, at the Matadero Madrid. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)
First Lady Michelle Obama waves goodbye as she departs Madrid, Spain, July 1, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)