It’s not every day that a YouTube beauty vlogger gets invited on a trip with the First Lady. Then again, Michelle Phan isn’t your everyday beauty guru. With more than 7.2 million subscribers, Phan was in Japan this week to help spread the word about Michelle Obama’s latest campaign for women empowerment: increasing education for girls worldwide. Why is this important? There are 62 million girls worldwide who aren’t enrolled in school, half of them in their teens already. This means less opportunities for work, more risk of becoming infected with HIV/AIDS, earlier forced marriages, dependency on others, and increased gender-based violence.
These efforts aren’t just about making sure girls stay in school abroad, as Mrs. Obama notes, “It’s also about reminding our young people [in the U.S.] of the hunger they should be feeling for their own education here at home.”
Mrs. Obama also visited Cambodia to check out the very first Peace Corps trainings there, which bolster girls’ education on a community level. One of my favorite tweets during that trip was “Real, meaningful change in communities doesn’t happen from the top down–it happens from the ground up.” It’s a simple reminder that we all must do our own little part to make society a better place.
Although Phan and Mrs. Obama have returned from their trip, the campaign continues to gain momentum on Twitter with the hashtag #LetGirlsLearn. Visit the official government website here for more information.