The Rev Mpho Tutu, daughter of Nobel Laureate and Emeritus Archbishop Desmond Tutu, has called for the abolition of school fees in South Africa and a global effort to secure free primary schooling for all the world’s children.
Ms Tutu, who is founder of an Institute for Prayer and Pilgrimage, made the plea at a news conference held last week in conjunction with Global Campaign for Education Week and an orphans advocacy group.
"Those most impacted by school fees are girls," she declared, adding that giving South African children access to a free education would also help to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS because they would learn better how to protect themselves.
Ms Tutu also urged the US and other G8 countries to increase their funding for orphans and primary education worldwide, as part of an initiative fronted by actress Angelina Jolie and a series of other celebrities and public figures.
Members of Global Action for Children, an orphan advocacy group, are seeking 2.5 billion dollars from the American government for programmes that would support children suffering from disease and poverty.
The aim is also to provide crucial free primary school education in developing countries, where access to basic learning is severely rationed by lack of income and a shortage of resources.
"Their education is an investment in our future," Angelina Jolie declared of orphaned children. "When they are given a chance, they grow strong."