President Obama reads Eva's letter

27 Sep 15
Around the world International Tanzania USA


On the final day of the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit, President Barack Obama read out a letter from Eva*, a 15 year old girl from rural Tanzania. Eva is part of Restless Development Tanzania's programmes, who worked with our allies ONE to get her message read out by the President of the United States of America as the United Nations adopt the Sustainable Development Goals.

Obama Eva letter graphic

Restless Development USA's Lorraine Perricone-Dazzo has blogged on other youth development progress made in the USA.

You can see her original handwritten letter in Swahili, and the translation in English:

Dear President Obama
My name is Eva, I am 15 years old from [a rural village in] Tanzania. 2015 is the year that we set the Sustainable Development Goals and I want to ask you if you’ll do something amazing for me and every girl in the world.

My dream is to be an educated girl because there is nothing we can enjoy without education. I want to see every single girl in the world being educated so we can all achieve our big dreams.

This year I finished my primary education. It’s not been easy - my parents have not always been able to pay for my uniform and textbooks - but I did it and I’m really proud. I will do whatever it takes to graduate from any university so that I can achieve my dream to become a police woman and take care of the community. It is difficult to study at night because we don’t have power and I can’t go through my notes in darkness. I spend almost the whole day at school without having any meals and it makes me lose my concentration. I am worried that it will affect my performance and I won’t be able to pass my exams - but my father is working extremely hard to find more resources for my studies and I won’t let him down.

I see many challenges in my village. My family lives off our farm and in the past three years we have not had enough crops due to changes in the local climate. We don’t have a water system in this community so we rely on rivers which go dry for many months sometimes we cannot wash for four days at a time. Some people are benefiting from the government power supply projects in remote areas but there are few and many lack power still. There are also many challenges facing girls. We are not valued and our opinions are not heard. Many girls as young as 13 are being forced to marry and are not allowed to go to school. We are the ones who fetch water and firewood from the forest.

I would like to ask what will you and the global leaders will do to ensure that every single girl in my village and Africa has better access to clean water, resources, and education, and to ensure the Goals are delivered?

I was born in 2000, the same year the Millennium Development Goals were set. This year, as I turn 15, you and the other global leaders will agree a new plan for a better world. I know that I and my fellow girls in my village can play a great role in implementing the SDGs in this community once empowered and most importantly given the chance.

What will you commit to doing to help young people actually lead development?

- Eva

 Eva handwritten letter to Obama in Swahili

*Restless Development is not publicising Eva's surname or location for her and her family's privacy. For interview requests, please contact our international press team: +447906 153 469 +447742 782 673