Mrs. Graça Machel, a leading champion of women’s rights and girls’ education, and a member of the Elders group, has written a powerful letter of solidarity to the girls who were abducted in Chibok, Nigeria and to their parents. In the letter, Machel asks them to stay strong, and reassures the girls that their “plight has touched millions of hearts in Africa and beyond.”

Addressing their parents, Machel writes, “I am a parent and so I stand amongst you holding your hands, in pain and anguish; in solidarity.”


Machel reminds the parents of the 234 girls who were abducted three weeks ago, that, “the Nigerian government has a responsibility to protect its citizens, and keep them safe.” Machel goes on to say that “If the world can mobilise all the means possible to search for a plane carrying 239 passengers, certainly it can also mobilise the means to find our girls.

They deserve nothing less. ”Machel continues to observe the official customary mourning period after the loss of her husband Nelson Mandela, but as a long-standing champion for women and children’s rights, she writes that she had to speak out. “I decided to break the restrictions of my mourning because silence is not an option. I know however, that Madiba will understand and approve.”

Nana Kelly, Managing Director of the Graça Machel Trust notes that, “This is an issue that touches our mandate at its core. Those girls were taken out of school. They were abducted because they were committed to learning. A crime has been committed and we must stand up against it and do everything possible to bring those girls home safely.”

The Graça Machel Trust is a platform to embrace, nurture, enable and inspire women and children to soar to the fullest of their potential. It consolidates the work of its founder, Mrs Graça Machel and seeks to build on her legacy to empower new generations to take up the challenges of their times and create caring societies that value social justice.


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