The Trump administration is discontinuing a signature girls education initiative championed by former first lady Michelle Obama, according to officials.
The “Let Girls Learn” program, which she and President Barack Obama started in 2015 to facilitate educational opportunities for adolescent girls in developing countries, will cease operation immediately, according to an internal document obtained by CNN.
While aspects of the initiative’s programming will continue, employees have been told to stop using the “Let Girls Learn” name and were told that, as a program unto itself, “Let Girls Learn” was ending.
“Moving forward, we will not continue to use the ‘Let Girls Learn’ brand or maintain a stand-alone program,” read an email sent to Peace Corps employees this week by the agency’s acting director Sheila Crowley.
” ‘Let Girls Learn’ provided a platform to showcase Peace Corps’ strength in community development, shining a bright light on the work of our Volunteers all over the world,” Crowley wrote. “We are so proud of what ‘Let Girls Learn’ accomplished and we have all of you to thank for this success.”
News of the program’s end came the same day President Donald Trump’s agriculture secretary, Sonny Perdue, was visiting an elementary school in suburban Virginia to announce changes to another initiative spotlighted by the former first lady, healthy school lunches.
The ending of the program comes as Melania Trump begins to define her own platform as first lady. While she hasn’t formally announced an official platform, women’s empowerment and access to education for women and girls is emerging as a key area of importance for her growing East Wing.
“I continue to firmly believe that education is the most powerful way to promote and ensure women’s rights. Together we will do this not only by striving for gender parity at all levels of education, but also by showing all children, and especially boys, that it is through empathy, respect and kindness that we achieve our collective potential,” she said in a recent speech at the State Department.