Tererai Trent&#39s Remarks On Matau Primary School Groundbreaking

Tererai podium

Dr. Tererai Trent, PHD , Educator and Humanitarian   


July 15, 2011

 As we break ground for the new Matau Primary School, memories come back to mind. Once again, I am that little girl who wanted to learn how to read and write, but was deprived of that opportunity because of poverty. Today, memories like that belong to the past, to be buried under the ground on which the school of my dreams will rise.

Today I also am reminded of what has brought us here in the first place. It is the idea that education is a universal human right that holds the key to breaking the cycle of poverty. Education shapes our current and future leaders, secures better livelihoods, and builds strong vibrant communities.
It was a thirst for education that started my journey that would take me thousands of miles away from Matau – a world where possibilities became realities.
As I achieved my dreams through the years, there was one more I harbored in my heart. It remains the greatest of all and I am seeing the beginning of it today. In this village will rise a school that will be more than just a building. It will be a school supported by trained teachers, new learning methods and literacy programs, ensuring quality education to over 4,000 children here and in nearby villages.
As I reflect on my life, I can’t help but remember that if the challenges were countless, so were the blessings. There is no greater testament to that than to know that in the years to come, the children here in Matau and those of our neighbors will be better readers, better writers, and better off for having started on the path to learning early in life.
I am grateful to Save the Children, which has always been a champion for children’s well-being and education in Africa. I am grateful to Oprah Winfrey for her support and generosity. This school is a gift from her and it is my great honor to hand it over to my beloved community.
I thank the teachers who are on the forefront to ensure the success of every child. I thank you Matau parents who stood by me and supported my dream for an education. To the children, you are the reason for my resolve to build a school here. My heart is filled with joy when I imagine you sitting in the classrooms of this school, starting your own journey to become the finest women and men you aspire to be. Make yourselves proud; show the world that “it is achievable.” Tinogona.


Learn how you can get a Project Tinogona T-shirt and help support the Matau Primary School Project


  1. I am also very excited for your school, Dr. Trent. Congratulations on reaching this important milestone for the building of a new school. Education, learning, and, especially, knowledge are power.

    However, with all due respect I would like to note that it was not simply “poverty” that denied you an education, but colonialism and oppression, as you grew up in Rhodesia during a very bloody war. We need to understand our past as we go forward to make a better future. There still exists a sort of colonialism in the blind acceptance of Western forms of education, but many are working toward a positive recognition of indigenous knowledge systems and languages, in conjunction with other systems of education. I urge Save the Children to positively incorporate such perspectives.

    Indeed, a broad perspective that is build on multiculturalism, multilingualism and diversity will allow all African children and their families to choose what works for them as they develop their own systems of education, built on family values, orality and harmony with nature. These are the positive aspects of African culture that I hope the new Matau Primary School will be able to incorporate and foster.

    A blind acceptance of Western European languages, a propensity to elevate literacy above other forms of communication, and the negative self-image that results must not be allowed to sneak in during international development projects like this one sponsored by Save the Children. I trust you will work with that organization to make sure the school provides for true independence and self-sufficiency for your village, its families and children. Congratulations and best of luck!
    Chokwadi, tinogona!

  2. let’s join our hands together to stop this kind of wrong doings. It may risk lives in the future if we just let them continue.

  3. that organization to make sure the school provides for true independence and self-sufficiency for your village, its families and children. Congratulations and best of luck!

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