Tererai Trent Dreamed of an Education

In 1991, Jo Luck from Heifer International visited a rural village in Zimbabwe to talk to a group of girls. She wanted to know what they dreamed of.

For one woman in the crowd, Tererai Trent, the question had never been asked. Trent, like other girls in her community, was not allowed to go to school. By using her brother's schoolbooks and secretly completing his homework, she was able to teach herself to read.

But by age 11, Trent had been married off. And by the time she was 18, when she met Luck, she had three children and "no GED."  Hearing Luck say that "anything is achievable" was a turning point for Trent. she realized that unless she pursued her own goal of education, her children would be destined to a similar fate.

Trent began working for Hefer international and then was accepted to college in Oklahoma. Fast forward to today, and she now has her Ph.D.

Trent is the first woman in her village to have gone to school. And after Oprah (who picked Trent as the "favorite guest" in her 25-year-long career) donated money to help build schools in Zimbabwe, her home village now has many girls in school.

Trent now runs the Tinogona (which means "it is achivable") Foundation to help rebuild schools. 

Talking to Tererai Trent about her story at IdeaFestival 2013 was an honor and privilege. She is the ultimate proof of the power of the mind and spirit in making dreams a reality.

Hope Reese
Writer, Editor, and IF Radio Host