Graça Machel was named The World's Children's Prize Decade Child Rights Hero 2009 for her long and courageous struggle for children’s rights, mainly in Mozambique.
When Graça was the Minister of Education in Mozambique, the number of school children in Mozambique rose by 80%. Her goal is to have as many girls as boys in schools, including in rural areas, where many girls have to work and are married off at an early age. Graça started a theatre group to teach parents the importance of education for girls. She also built schools built where there are none or not enough. After the floods of 2000 Graça and her organisation gave students new textbooks and made sure that many families found new homes.
Graça also fights against all forms of violence and abuse against children. Internationally Graça has worked to help child victims of war and to stop the trafficking of children.
Graça Machel was nominated and awarded jointly with her late husband Nelson Mandela. She is part of the group The Elders.
Read more about Graça and Nelson Mandela in the Globe Magazine from 2005: