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Tererai  Trent

Tererai Trent

Oprah Winfrey's "All-Time Favorite Guest"


One of today’s most internationally recognized voices for quality education and women’s empowerment, Dr. Tererai Trent is a symbol of hope for children around the world. Her new picture book, The Girl Who Buried Her Dreams in a Can (October 2015), is based on her story of perseverance. Read More >

Dr. Trent grew up in a cattle-herding family in rural Zimbabwe and always dreamed of getting an education, but limited by traditional Zimbabwean culture, she was married with three children by the time she was eighteen. Undeterred by traditional roles and cultural norms, Tererai determinedly taught herself to read and write from her brother’s schoolbooks. From those humble beginnings, Tererai has become a world-renowned scholar, humanitarian, motivational speaker, educator, mentor, and inspiration, leading the global charge in the fight for quality education for all children.

So what makes Dr. Trent Oprah Winfrey’s “all time favorite guest?” While still a young mother without a high school diploma, Tererai decided to take control of her destiny. She wrote down her dreams of going to America for higher education, sealed them in a tin can and buried them under a rock, thereby redesigning the blueprint for her life. Tererai’s steadfast determination, hard work and belief in her dreams would eventually earn her multiple degrees. Today, Dr. Trent is a senior consultant with more than 18 years of international experience in program and policy evaluation, and has worked on five continents for major humanitarian organizations. With a desire to give back to her community and the firm belief that education is the pathway out of poverty, Dr. 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. On top of sharing her remarkable story, Trent appeals to international businesses to invest in equal access to education. She empowers women to be leaders in their communities, imparting the lessons she learned along her incredible journey. A warm and engaging speaker, Dr. Tererai Trent lights up audiences with her enduring spirit and strength, and leaves everyone motivated to fight not only for their own dreams, but also for the dreams of others. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

TEDTalk: Forgotten Women and Girls

Horizons for Homeless Children

Having a Dream

UN Global Leaders Summit 2013

Speaking on MLK Day

Loyola University Commencement Address

Thank You

Speech Topics

The Story of a Little Girl with Big Dreams

Dr. Tererai Trent has a story to share about a little girl with big dreams. All the girl ever wanted was an education. But in Rhodesia, education for girls was nearly impossible. So, she taught herself to read and write with her brother’s schoolbooks and to count while watching cattle graze. Read More >

When the girl became a young wife and mother, she wrote her goals on a scrap of paper and buried them in a can — an ancient ritual that reminded her that she couldn't give up on her dreams. Would her dreams ever come true? Dr. Trent’s true story of perseverance, based on her new picture book The Girl Who Buried Her Dreams in a Can (October 2015), is sure to inspire audiences of all ages and focus on the importance of education. Read Less ^

The Three Powers of Inspired Women’s Leadership: Great Hunger (Passion), Mentorship & Giving Back

Drawing from the precious wisdom of her African cultural roots, and the valuable lessons of achieving success in present day America, Dr. Tererai Trent is poised between the ancient and modern—offering a beautifully unique perspective, privilege to a rare few. Read More >

In her talk, Dr. Trent will talk about the importance of cultivating three essential powers of women's leadership:

  1. The Power of Great Hunger: The energy that gives Women’s Leadership determination and perseverance, which makes them stay focused on important issues in life.
  2. The Power of Mentorship: How Women’s Leadership connects and builds relationships for personal growth, ultimately impacting communities and societies at large.
  3. The Power of Giving Back: How women use talents, time, money and other resources to build communities, and champion issues whose greatness defines our humanity.

Dr. Trent will share how nurturing these three powers enable women to cultivate legacy leadership while making a positive difference in the world, ultimately, giving a strong voice in shaping our collective future. She will unfold these powers by weaving them with her remarkable story, thereby offering a global perspective that connects women of all ages and backgrounds.  Read Less ^

Achieving Dreams Against All Odds - The Power of Adversity

The Power of Great Hunger - How it Defines Us

Education is a Human Right - Empowering Girls Through Education

Inspiring Girls’ Dreams - The Defining Truth: Who Are You?