Graca Machel

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Graca Machel will always be loved not only in her home country, Mozambique, but also in the whole of Africa and in most parts of the world where women and child abuse are pressing issues. She personified independence and strength. She nullified erroneous notions narrow–minded people have of women. She braved to go where no one dared to. So don’t be surprised to see her where women are not expected to be. She is into politics, into activism, into global affairs.

Achievements

Why Graca Machel is Extraordinary

Graca Machel will always be loved not only in her home country, Mozambique, but also in the whole of Africa and in most parts of the world where women and child abuse are pressing issues. She personified independence and strength. She nullified erroneous notions narrow–minded people have of women. She braved to go where no one dared to. So don’t be surprised to see her where women are not expected to be. She is into politics, into activism, into global affairs.

Graca Incites Change in Mozambican Children

Twice a First Lady, Graca has more than her affiliations to be proud of. This woman delivers results, remarkable figures at that! When she became Mozambique’s first Minister of Education, Graca’s projects that aimed towards the eradication of illiteracy became so successful that the number of primary and secondary enrollees were doubled.

From a meager 40 percent of children attending school in 1975, Graca’s educational reform made learning available even to adults. In about 14 years’ time, it was proven that 90 percent of Mozambique boys were attending school, while 75 percent of the girls’ population also began studying. She did all that during the time she was helping her husband run the country and her household. If Graca did not only fortify the educational system of Mozambique, she also redefined the place of women in her country’s patriarchal culture.

Allowing her to take part in social projects did not make her first husband, the late Samora Machel, less of a man. He owed much of his leadership’s efficiency to his wife who was ever ready with suggestions and encouragement.

There’s probably no one as visibly angered as Graca by the rampant oppression of women and children in Africa and other parts of the globe. And it showed in the way she abolished illiteracy in Mozambique and how she valiantly contested the morale behind child marriages.

Her voice was heard by the United Nations Assembly and they assigned her a task they knew she won’t be able to resist—do a research on the Impact of Armed Conflict on Children. That kept her preoccupied for a time.

She went to war–torn countries and lived the lives of the people victimized by the harsh environment of bombings and landmines. If not killing their own parents, children were dying because of the political unrest. Prior to that, Graca already had a soft-spot for kids. The reality she saw in her trips made her question her achievements. She could not just go home and tell the story to people hoping that like her, they would also find it in their hearts to care about those children’s plight.

Graca Machel Founds Foundation for Community Development

Aside from submitting a puissant report to the UN, Graca was actively involved in upholding children and women’s rights. Graca founded the Foundation for Community Development in 1990. Seeing how children bore the brunt of war as she did her research she was propelled into action. Graca was one of the delegates of the United Nations Children's Fund in 1998.

She co-founded, along with her second husband Nelson Mandela among a few others, The Elders in 2007. The organization is their response to the escalating problems that keep piling up and are taking their toll on world affairs. As the world’s elders, they aim to help resolve those issues using their “collective knowledge” and sovereignty.

An APP Panel Member

Graca also once sat in the Board of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization Fund, which makes vaccination within reach of the people in poor countries. She also serves as one of the panel members of the Africa Progress Panel or APP. APP releases an annual report containing thorough studies of problems faced by the African people and recommendations on how to counter them. Concerned about health, Graca is also a member of the High Level Task Force on Innovative International Finance for Health Systems.

Graca Becomes a Dame

Because of her huge contributions to her country and the whole of Africa, Prime Minister Gordon Brown of the United Kingdom made her an honorary Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2007. She is also a recipient of other prestigious awards such as the InterAction's Humanitarian Award, the Global Citizen Award of the New England Circle, the Nansen Medal from the United Nations, and the North-South Prize.

The Graca Machel Trust Creates Graca Machel Scholarships for Women

A scholarship initiative was put together in with the Graca Machel trust, which seeks to offer "full tuition, stipend, mentoring and other support for Honours, masters and PhD study at South African universities." (Source: Canon Collins). Visit their website to see if you're eligible.

Graca Machel's Unique Quotes and Contact Details

To see Graca Machel's quotes you won't see anywhere in other quote websites, you may read through unique quotations in the Quotes tab of her Biography. To get in touch with the activist and contribute to her cause, her contact details can also be found in the Biography section.

A woman like Graca doesn’t have to be a president’s wife to chart her own political career. For all we know, her “husbands” chose to marry her because they saw a partner in Graca, someone who would understand their duties and help them attain their goals. On her own, she accomplished missions, won atrocious battles, and breached primitive practices.

No wonder Graca is every leader’s kind of woman.

Top Reasons why Graca Machel is Extraordinary

  1. She became a first lady twice, first of Mozambique then of South Africa.
  2. She co-founded The Elders along with her second husband, Nelson Mandela.
  3. She once sat in the Board of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization Fund and served as one of the panel members of the Africa Progress Panel or APP.
  4. Prime Minister Gordon Brown of the United Kingdom made her an honorary Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2007.
  5. She founded the Foundation for Community Development in 1990.
  6. She was one of the UNICEF delegates.
  7. She's a CARE Awardee, and has received the Global Citizen Award of the New England Circle, the Africare Distinguished Humanitarian Service Award, and the Laureate of Africa Prize for Leadership for the Sustainable End of Hunger from the Hunger Project among many others.
  8. UN published her report: The Impact of Armed Conflict on Children.
  9. She once chaired the National Organization of Children and the UNESCO commission.
  10. Her projects increased literacy rate in Mozambique and charged attitudes of parents towards sending their kids to school.

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