Friday, December 26, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

I-House welcomes international inspiration

TrentW

Tererai Trent, who now works in HIV prevention research in sub-Saharan Africa, was married at age 11 in her rural village in Zimbabwe without much hope of an education. Through sheer determination, she came to the United States to study and now serves as proof of the potential of education to break the cycle of poverty. Courtesy photo

By
From page A1 | September 12, 2013 |

A woman who has been described as living proof of the power of dreams and the potential of education to break the cycle of poverty will be a guest speaker at the third annual International Festival on Saturday, Oct. 12, in Davis.

When she was a young woman living in a rural Zimbabwe village without running water or electricity, Tererai Trent wrote down her dream of an education and buried the scrap of paper under a rock in the pasture where she used to herd cattle. She will speak about turning that dream into a reality at 5 p.m. at the Veterans’ Memorial Center, 203 E. 14th St.

Admission to the festival, which runs from noon to 6 p.m., is free.

Trent also is highlighted in this year’s selection for the UC Davis Campus Community Book Project, which is “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide” by Nicholas Kristof. Both Trent and Kristof will be speaking at the Mondavi Center on Monday, Jan. 13, at 4 p.m.

Without a high school diploma, and with only her mother’s encouragement, Trent managed to overcome her limited upbringing.

“I remember very well my father pointing to my brothers and the other boys in the village and saying: ‘These are the breadwinners of tomorrow. We need to educate them. We need to send them to school. The girls will get married,’ ” she said. “And that was just a painful experience for me.”

She secretly did her brother’s homework. “I learned to read and write from my brother’s books,” she said. When her secret was exposed, the teacher begged her father to let her learn.

Trent attended only two school terms before she was forced to marry at age 11. By age 18, she was the mother of three.

“When my husband realized that I wanted to have an education, he would beat me,” she says. “I have nightmares of that time of my life.”

In 1991, a visitor changed Trent’s life forever. Jo Luck, from Heifer International, asked the village women about their dreams —something many of them didn’t know they were allowed to have.

“I remember very clearly saying: ‘My name is Tererai, and I want to go to America to have an education, and I want to have a BS degree. I want to have a master’s, and I want to have a Ph.D.,’ ” she says. “And she just looked at me, ‘If you desire those things, it is achievable.’

“As a woman without an education, life will continue to be a burden,” she wrote. “I truly believe in these dreams, and I hope one day to work for the causes of women and girls in poverty.”

Trent not only broke the cycle, she shattered it. In 1998, she moved to Oklahoma with her husband and now five children. Just three years later, she earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural education. In 2003, the same year her husband was deported for abuse, she obtained her master’s degree.

After every achievement, Trent returned home to Zimbabwe, unearthed her tin of dreams and checked off each goal she accomplished, one by one. In December 2009, the now happily remarried Trent realized her greatest dream of all — a doctoral degree.

This role model from Zimbabwe came to the attention of another woman from Zimbabwe, Nathalie Minya, who lives in Davis and is the force behind the popular international fashion show at the Oct. 12 festival hosted by International House, Davis.

“I wanted her to come to the International Festival and speak so people can be aware of how hard it is for people from Zimbabwe and Africa and around the world to get an education,” Minya said. “She can be an inspiration to school kids in the U.S. and Davis — it is a privilege to be able to go to school and it is a privilege for Davis to host this world-renowned humanitarian.”

Today, Trent is a symbol of hope in her village. On a trip home in 2009, she and her mother encouraged a new generation of girls to dream, giving them pens, paper and tiny metal tins in which to put their paper dreams.

“It makes me feel happy, but at the same time, it makes me feel empty that there are more women who could have the same opportunity but they are not getting it,” Trent said. “My story is not about me, but it’s about what can come out of my story.”

Trent earned a bachelor’s degree and two master’s degrees from Oklahoma State University and UC Berkeley and earned her doctorate in interdisciplinary evaluation from Western Michigan University. As a fellow with the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies in the UC San Francisco department of medicine, she is involved in HIV prevention research in sub-Saharan Africa, with a special focus on women and girls. She lives in Salinas.

Trent created a nonprofit foundation called Tinogona, which means “it is achievable.” Through partnerships with Save the Children and the Oprah Winfrey Foundation —she has appeared on “Oprah” twice — she helped rebuild the Matau Primary School in her home village and improved educational opportunities for thousands of children.

She is continuing to focus on education in Zimbabwe. For more information, go to www.tinogona.org.

— Elisabeth Sherwin is executive director of the International House, which is sponsoring the International Festival on Oct. 12.

Comments

comments

Elisabeth Sherwin

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Exchange students bring the world to Davis

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Pastor has many plans for CA House

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Transit survey: 47 percent ride bikes to UCD campus

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Playing Santa

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    Goats help recycle Christmas trees

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    Davis Bike Club hears about British cycling tour

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Pick up a Davis map at Chamber office

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Sierra Club calendars on sale Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Special holiday gifts

    By Sue Cockrell | From Page: A3

     
    Woodland-Davis commute bus service expands

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Learn fruit tree tips at free class

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Explorit: Get a rise out of science

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A4

    NAMI meeting offers family support

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    Yoga, chanting intro offered

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

    .

    Forum

    Blamed for her sister’s rage

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    How much for the calling birds?

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

    Thanks for putting food on the table

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Steve Sack cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

     
    Many ensured a successful parade

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    .

    Sports

    Two more for the road for 9-1 Aggie men

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Patterson is college football’s top coach

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Clippers get a win over Golden State

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    NBA roundup: Heat beat Cavs in LeBron’s return to Miami

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10 | Gallery

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    ‘Unbroken': A bit underwhelming

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    Folk musicians will jam on Jan. 2

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    .

    Business

    Passat: Roomy, affordable sedan with German engineering

    By Ann M. Job | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    James J. Dunning Jr.

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Floyd W. Fenocchio

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, December 26, 2014 (set 2)

    By Creator | From Page: B7

     
    Comics: Thursday, December 26, 2014 (set 1)

    By Creator | From Page: A9