Dr. Tererai Trent is an internationally recognized voice for quality education and women’s empowerment. Oprah called Trent her favorite guest and invested $1.5 million to help build a school in Trent’s home village in Zimbabwe.
Trent’s talk is one of three free public lectures and three open plenary sessions during the 2016 Summit on Women, Gender and Empowerment. The Summit is hosted by the UW Women’s and Gender Studies Consortium and the UW-Madison 4W (Women and Well-being in Wisconsin and the World) Initiative. 4W is convened by the Global Health Institute, the School of Human Ecology and the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies.
Trent grew up in a cattle-herding family in rural Zimbabwe and always dreamed of getting an education. Limited by traditional Zimbabwean culture, she was married with three children by the time she was 18. Undeterred by traditional roles and cultural norms, Tererai determinedly taught herself to read and write from her brother’s schoolbooks.
With a desire to give back to her community and the firm belief that education is the pathway out of poverty, Trent founded Tinogona Foundation, a non-profit organization that works to build, repair and renovate schools in rural Zimbabwe. Through strategic partnerships with Oprah Winfrey and Save the Children, Tinogona is helping build nine schools, improving the lives for nearly 4,000 children. Using her prominent global platform in conjunction with world leaders and international audiences, Tererai tirelessly speaks on behalf of children without an access to education.