Educating Girls Like Chrissie Can Save a Nation

9/25/2012
CNN

When I was young, one of my best friends lived in my grandmother's village. I saw Chrissie every weekend as we made our way through childhood -- she in the village school and I in the town school. We finally came together as students in secondary school.

Sadly, Chrissie studied with me for only one term, as her parents could not afford the school fee of $6. She returned to her village, married early and had more than a half-dozen children. She lives there still, locked in poverty. My parents, on the other hand, could afford the school fees, and I was lucky enough to finish my schooling and eventually to run a successful business. Now, I am president of Malawi.

On Wednesday, I take the floor of the U.N. General Assembly as the second female president of an African country, and one of about 14 in the world, I am honored to bring my message of hope for Malawi and for Africa to the world.

When I travel through my country and talk to the people, I see myself and Chrissie in the children I meet, who are bursting with intelligence and creativity and joy. But when I take the stage at the United Nations to represent my country, I also represent the parents of Malawi's children, the women who fear the dangers of giving birth and the men who search desperately to find work to pay for their families' basic needs.

READ FULL ARTICLE >