The important role education plays in the development of a nation and the world at large is huge. For a nation to rise in prosperity, education must be made available to both male and female.

Former first lady of the United States of America, Michelle Obama through her Obama Foundation is empowering young girls across the world in the area of education. So young girls can, in turn, be of great support to their families, communities and countries.

Her initiative has seen her teamed up with Refinery29 – An American digital media and entertainment company which solely focus on young girls. The collaboration saw Michelle engage in a dialogue with four young women from Nepal (Nirupa Katuwal, 21), Ghana (Pearl Niki Quarmyne, 20), Guatemala (Alejandra Teleguuario Santizo, 17), and Chicago (Eva Lewis, 19) on International Women’s Day.

Here is her chat with Pearl from Ghana:

MICHELLE OBAMA: Pearl, what barriers did you have to overcome in order to achieve an education? What made you decide you would do whatever it took to overcome those obstacles?
PQ: “My barrier was financial. I’m the only girl in my family and was raised by my grandmother, who never went to school, and aunties, who were never able to finish school. I helped make ends meet by fetching and selling water; washing clothes for other families; and selling sugarcane, pastries, and toffee. Many girls I knew dropped out due to pregnancy or because they couldn’t afford the materials. I couldn’t afford books myself, so I would ask teachers and friends to borrow them. I was determined, because I loved school and wanted to be a teacher; I would often read ahead and help teachers with their lesson plans.”
PEARL: Mrs. Obama, how do you define success?
MO: “On your own terms! Success isn’t about how your life looks to others — it’s about how it feels to you. I also think a key measure of success is how you handle adversity. It’s not just about how you act when you’re healthy and happy and everything is going according to plan, but also what you do when life knocks you to the ground and all your plans go right out the window. In those darkest moments, you have a choice: Do you dwell on everything you’ve lost, or do you focus on what you still have and find a way to move forward with passion, determination, and joy?”
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