The former First Lady had to blink away tears as she heard former school girl Tay Thi Nguyen reveal her heartbreaking experience. The young woman, who is now 28, told both the powerful women about her painful school days in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta.
At the age of seven, she had planned to go to college and become a teacher.
However, in the seventh grade, her illiterate parents burned her school books and insisted that she drop out to work full-time to support her six siblings.
However, a program called Room to Read helped her stand up to her dreams, and stand up to her parents.
Tay Thi said: “They helped me not only in financial support, but in spiritual support.
“Finally, my mom understood me and loved me more.”
Tay Thi is now a school teacher in her hometown.
While the young women as talking, Michelle was holding back tears and holding Tay Thi’s hand.
Michelle asked Tay Thi: “Did your mother live to see you accomplish your dreams?”
“At 7 years old, to know there’s something more for me and I’m going to have to make it happen for myself — I mean, at 7 years old, I was just thinking about Archie Comics and maybe some cotton candy!”
She added later: “It’s such a beautiful thing: She just never gave up. I will never recover from that story, really.”
Ms Roberts also said she had not worked on the issues surrounding girls’ education before.
The actress – known for her role in Notting Hill with Hugh Grant – jumped at the opportunity to get involved with Michelle’s Global Girls Alliance at The Obama Foundation.
She was also excited to make the 9,000-mile trip to Vietnam.
She said: “The best things you don’t stop and think about, right?
“You just go and do because you know in your heart it’s the right thing.”
As part of self-esteem lessons, Ms Roberts and Michelle drew pictures of themselves with crayons and felt tips.
The actress fussed over what her drawn herself should be wearing but confessed that she ended up running out of time.