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.
She fights for girls’ right to go to school. When she was Minister of Education, the number of schoolchildren in Mozambique rose by 80%. Graça’s goal is to have as many girls as boys in schools. In rural areas, most 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 has schools built where there are none or not enough. After the floods of 2000 Graça and her organisation FDC gave students new textbooks and gave many families 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: