10:48 A.M. (Local)
MRS. BUSH: Thank you very much. Thank you, Mr. Minister. Thank you for your very kind introduction and your warm welcome to me. And thanks also to Mrs. Karume. I appreciate your very warm welcome to Zanzibar. Thank you a lot. (Applause.)
I also want to acknowledge Ambassador Randall Tobias, who's here with me today. He coordinates the United States government's global efforts to fight HIV/AIDS. And education is a vital part of the fight against HIV.
I'm especially pleased to visit the Kiembesamaki Teachers Centre. And I want to thank your director, Ali Haji. (Applause.) I am a former teacher and librarian, so I have something in common with all of the teachers who are here: We all love children and we want to see them achieve their highest potential.
The United States and Zanzibar are working together to improve education for Zanzibar's children. Because we believe the children of Africa deserve a good education, and because we have hope for their future, the American people are giving more than $200 million through their government for education programs in Africa - and my husband has proposed doubling that funding. (Applause.)
The African Education Initiative helps to provide school supplies, scholarships, and books. And over four years, the new funding will support training for 500,000 teachers and administrators in Africa.
With the Ambassador's Girls' Scholarship Program, the United States is helping families send their daughters to school, where girls can receive an education that will empower them to make a difference throughout their lives. Over four years, the American people will fund 300,000 scholarships for African schoolgirls. (Applause.)
Girls and boys in school also need books to read and study, to expand their knowledge of the world. As the Honorary Ambassador for the United Nations Decade of Literacy, I believe deeply in the importance of reading. And today I'm pleased to announce a donation of 20,000 books for schools in Zanzibar.
Earlier today I visited students at Al Rahma Madrasa Pre-School, which was created through Zanzibar's Madrasa Resource Centre. The Madrasa Resource Centre makes high-quality early education available to children in Zanzibar and in neighboring countries. The people of the United States are partners with the Madrasa Resource Centre, working together through the Aga Khan Foundation.
The Foundation provides seed money and training to communities that want to open a madrasa pre-school, but the schools belong one hundred percent to the communities. Local men and women do their part by getting involved in the school - volunteering their time to repair classrooms, to build playgrounds, or to provide meals.
Over the last five years, the Madrasa Resource Centre and the Aga Khan Foundation have supported the creation of 180 schools in East Africa. More than 9,000 children have been educated and more than 900 women have been trained as teachers.
The American people are pleased to work with organizations that understand local needs and respond to those needs. By partnering with local organizations, our contributions can have a direct impact on people's lives.
I'm grateful to have the opportunity to visit Zanzibar and to meet each one of you. From the youngest girls and boys in pre-school, to teachers with years of experience, education is a priority. Your emphasis on education for all creates a hopeful future for the people of Zanzibar. Thank you very, very much for your hospitality. (Applause.)
END 10:57 A.M. (Local)