Dr. Tererai Trent, The Zimbabwean Woman whose Statue will be Installed in New York City

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Dr. Tererai Trent, a Zimbabwean author, scholar and humanitarian based in the United States, was listed among the ten most inspiring women in the world (Udodiong,2019). In addition to that, she will be honored for her efforts in ensuring gender equality by a bronze statue erected in New York City, near the iconic Rockefeller Center. This will be alongside those of Oprah Winfrey, Gabby Douglas, Nicole Kidman, Cheryl Strayed, Jane Goodall, Tracy Dyson, Cate Blanchett, Pink, and Janet Mock. This is part of the Statues for Equality project, whose objective is to increase the number of statues of women in New York. The project was launched by a couple, Gillie and Marc, who are artists.

This is what she had to say on her Twitter handle, “Statues of Equality is set to launch in New York City — please allow me to brag. I am incredibly honoured to be standing among the World’s Top 10 Most Inspiring Women ‘Sculpted for Equal Rights’! Can you believe this rural Zimbabwean girl and just looking back where I came from to think I will have a life-size statue standing in the streets of NYC! My goodness! The list includes Oprah Winfrey, Pink, Nicole Kidman, Jane Goodall, Cate Blanchett, Janet Mock, Tracy Dyson, Cheryl Strayed and Gabby Douglas.”

Among the people who congratulated her in response to her tweet was the current president of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa. Here is what he said,

“Congratulations @TereraiTrent who has been honoured as one of the 10 most inspiring women in the world, part of the “Sculpted for Equal Rights” initiative. All the people of Zimbabwe are deeply proud of you & your work promoting equality & empowerment for girls & women.”

This is such an accomplishment, bearing in mind the fact that Dr. Trent is from a very humble background. She was born in 1965 in the Zvipani Village in Karoi District, Mashonaland West Province. She had a tough childhood as she was not allowed to attend school due to her state of poverty as well as gender inequality. Her dream as a young woman had always been going to America for further studies. Relocating to Oklahoma with her spouse and five children in 1998, was a step towards achieving her goals.

While in the United States, she earned her bachelor’s degree in agricultural education followed by a master’s degree in 2003. She then went to Western Michigan University, where she earned her doctorate in December 2009. Heifer International sponsored her Ph.D. education. However, that is not where her education ended as she proceeded with her studies at the University of California, Berkeley, where she earned yet another Master’s degree, this time, in Public Health (Epidemiology).

After obtaining her Ph.D. in 2009, she acquired a two-year contract to work with Heifer International. In the same year, she started the Tinogona Foundation, which was later on called Tererai Trent International. This foundation has enabled the construction of a number of schools in Zimbabwe. Oprah Winfrey covered a segment on Dr. Trent, concerning the book Half the Sky, in the Oprah episode. The book, Half the Sky features Dr. Trent’s life.