Mrs Michelle Obama visits Mulberry School for Girls
Michelle Obama, then First Lady of the United Stated States, visited Mulberry School for Girls in July 2015 to launch her Let Girls Learn campaign (now known as the Global Girls’Alliance). Her visit inspired our students to be advocates for girls’ right to education and our school has since supported the campaign through programmes of our own.
The visit was the rewarding culmination of our relationship with the US Embassy and a reflection of our school’s longstanding commitment to women’s education. Students welcomed Mrs Obama, hosted her throughout her visit, and had the opportunity to ask questions during her discussion with Julia Gillard, Former Prime Minister of Australia and Dr Vanessa Ogden, CEO of the Mulberry Schools Trust and Headteacher, Mulberry School for Girls. Mrs Obama delivered a heartfelt speech about the urgent need to prioritise girls’ education and made it clear to Mulberry students and their peers that they a central part of this global conversation. Her story about her own background, growing up in a working class neighbourhood in Chicago, resonated with many of our students. It encouraged them to be ambitious and to lend their talent to helping other girls across the world. Her speech can be viewed in full on YouTube and you can read a student’s account of the visit and its impact here.
Mulberry was subsequently invited to the White House and students were selected for this opportunity through an inclusive but rigorous application process. Students attended an open series of workshops on the history of the Civil Rights movement in the USA. The twenty successful students showed impressive commitment, real leadership potential and a passion for justice.
Mulberry students responded to their invitation to the White House in November 2015 with characteristic energy and confidence. Making the most of this incredible opportunity, as well as meeting Mrs Obama in Washington, our girls travelled across the USA to learn about the rich history of the Civil Rights Movement, in order to provide them with the tools they need to become agents of positive social change on a global scale. They celebrated the progress that has been made, explored the battles that are still being fought and are finding their own place as activists who can change their world for the better. They engaged in discussion about civil rights with leaders, politicians and young leaders their own age as well as following in the footsteps of some of their most admired heroes, Martin Luther King Jr and Ida B. Wells, on visits to key locations in the struggle for equality, including the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee, and the Civil Rights Heritage Trail in Birmingham, Alabama. The group shared their experience with the wider community by making a film and delivering a presentation and workshops at the Mulberry Youth Conference. You can read a full account of their journey on the school website here.