Tererai Trent

Tererai Trent

Girls Inc. of Greater Indianapolis will host nationally renowned speaker Tererai Trent as part of its 50th anniversary celebration 7 p.m. Feb. 10 at Clowes Memorial Hall on Butler University’s campus, 4602 Sunset Ave.

Trent grew up in a cattle-herding family in rural Zimbabwe and had her dream of getting an education slashed when her father married her off at a young age. She had three children by the time she was 18.

Trent wrote down her goals on a piece of paper and put it in a tin can that she buried in Zimbabwe. Those goals included going to America to pursue higher education.

She moved to Oklahoma in 1998 with her husband and five children, and three years later she earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural education. Trent also has a master’s degree and doctorate degree. She wrote her thesis about HIV/AIDS prevention programs for women and girls in sub-Saharan Africa.

After completing each accomplishment she laid out for herself years earlier, Trent traveled back to Zimbabwe to cross it off of her list.

Trent’s foundation, Tererai Trent International, has built several schools in Zimbabwe. She also was a guest on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” and Oprah said in 2011 that Trent was her all-time favorite guest.

Elyssa Campodonico-Barr, president and CEO of Girls Inc., said she hopes girls become inspired by Trent’s talk. 

“I think there’s so much value in really owning our own stories … and celebrating our successes,” she said.

For those such as parents and teachers, who have influence over the lives of girls, Campodonico-Barr said she wants them to see how important it is to invest in girls by reinforcing the importance of education, helping set goals and modeling positive behavior.

“We’ve come a long way since Girls Inc. started,” she said, “but we have so much more to go.”

Tickets for “An Evening with Dr. Tererai Trent” are $30 for general admission and $100 for premium, which includes priority seating and entrance to an on-site VIP reception. Purchase tickets online.

Contact staff writer Tyler Fenwick at 317-872-7853. Follow him on Twitter @Ty_Fenwick.

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