On Thursday in Cape Town, former US First Lady Michelle Obama, global philanthropist Melinda French Gates, human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, and former SA and Mozambique First Lady Graça Machel led a discussion on ending child marriage.
Fresh off their trip from Malawi, Obama, French Gates, and Clooney visited Ludzi Girls Secondary School and learnt about the work of the girls and AGE Africa program, which is supported by the Girls Opportunity Alliance.
During the discussion, the global powerhouses spoke on the value of the girl child, her education, and the need for financial backing needed for the empowerment of young girls.
Machel blamed parents for child marriages as they see their girl children as commodities and not valued as full human beings.
The activist reminded everyone that in order for things to change, everyone needs to remember that a girl child is a full human being.
Global philanthropist French Gates shared how educating a boy or girl child was not an either-or situation as the investment in the education of children will make society better.
Obama, who wore a dress from South African luxury designer MaXhosa, called on those in power to open up the funding needed to help end child marriages.
The three women last year partnered with their respective foundations to advance gender equality and help end child marriage.
The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage, Girls First Fund, and VOW for Girls— joined forces with the Clooney Foundation for Justice, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Obama Foundation’s Girls Opportunity Alliance to champion initiatives that will help end child marriage by working with and supporting girl- and community-led groups, striving to eliminate barriers for girls worldwide.