Group pushing Obama to improve education around the world

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SOUTH SALT LAKE -- A grassroots citizen group wants to end poverty and is calling on President Obama to keep a campaign promise to improve education.

At the Hser Ner Moo Community and Welcome Center, named after the young immigrant girl who was murdered in April 2008, children heard from a woman Friday who knows first-hand what can be accomplished with strong schools.

75 million children worldwide are out of primary school and denied access to a basic education. Over 226 million youth do not have the opportunity to attend secondary school. -Global Campaign for Education

Lieu Tran is highly educated, with two bachelor's degrees and a master's degree. Not bad for a Vietnamese immigrant who never went to school the first decade of her life.

"Instead of sending children to school, children at the age of eight had to go to work," Tran told the children.

Years later, her family immigrated to Salt Lake City. She enrolled at a local elementary school--her first time ever in school.

"I never got good grades in school," she said. "I always got Fs."

The Hser Ner Moo Community Center is aimed at helping refugees adjust to life in America. The center is a renovated apartment in the South Parc Apartments, the same complex where 7-year-old Hser Ner Moo was kidnapped and murdered in March, 2008. Moo and her family are from Myanmar and moved to Utah after years in a camp in Thailand. The community center teaches classes in English, financial planning and social skills.
But she stuck with it, studied hard and became a graduate student. She earned her masters degree in human rights at Columbia University. Tran shared her story the children, hoping to inspire other immigrants and refugees like her to get an education.

She is a volunteer member of RESULTS, a grassroots advocacy group spreading the word about the importance of educating the impoverished.

"One of the things that keeps people poor is lack of education, and the big problem right now is there's 75 million children in the world that don't get a chance to go to primary school. And that's just bad news," said RESULTS chairman Scott Leckman.

**What is the Global Campaign for Education?**
The Global Campaign for Education (GCE) was founded in 1999 to promote access to education as a basic human right and mobilizes public pressure to create the political will for governments and other leaders in the international community to fulfill their promises to provide at least a free, public basic education for all children.
He says his group visited the welcome center to remind people of what president Obama promised. "We need president Obama to fulfill his campaign pledge to raise a global fund for education," Leckman said. "If we can get all the wealthy countries in the world to put in money, then that's the way we're going to be able to reach that goal."

Reaching the goal, Leckman says, would make mire be more success stories like Tran's possible.

For now, Tran is just focusing on the young group of kids she spoke with Friday; she calls them the future of Salt Lake, Utah and the nation.

"I want every kid in this school to have the same opportunity I did," Tran said.

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Amanda Butterfield


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