The Elders

Graça MachelDear friends,

2015 is the target date for achieving the eight Millennium Development Goals. We are only three years away.

We have made fantastic progress on some MDGs, which is a testament to what we can do when we set ourselves specific targets and work together towards common goals. But we are a long way from achieving others – especially when it comes to getting more girls in school and reducing maternal mortality.

The UN and others are starting to plan what comes next, after the MDGs. One of the most important lessons we have learned is that we must focus much more on adolescent girls in our development efforts. When we empower girls and women, achieving our other goals – equality, education, child health, maternal health, an end to extreme poverty, tackling HIV/AIDS – becomes possible.

Girls can become powerful changemakers for the world

Next week, on 11 October, we will celebrate the first-ever International Day of the Girl. This has come not a moment too soon. The girl child – ignored by the world for so long – is finally getting the recognition she deserves.

Video thumbnail

VIDEO: “International Day of the Girl:
fulfil girls' potential; end child marriage”

Child marriage is probably the greatest single challenge to empowering girls worldwide, but here too we are seeing remarkable signs of progress, as Archbishop Tutu and I wrote last month. After Madiba and I met Hillary Clinton during her recent visit to South Africa, I was particularly heartened by her statement affirming the United States’ commitment to ending this harmful practice.

Momentum is building in the global movement to end child marriage. I hope you will join us on the Day of the Girl and find out how you too can be a part of it.

Best wishes,

Graça Machel

Graça Machel signature

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