How A Child Bride From Africa Became A Doctor And Author

Oprah’s All-time favorite Guess

Dr. Tererai trent and oprah winfrey

Today I will like us to talk about a woman Oprah has called her all-time favorite guess.

And we know Oprah has had some pretty impressive guess.

You must be wondering as I did, What made her so special.

Well sit back and relax, I am about to tell you about a lady who will impress you so much.

  • She will make you have a higher level of gratitude for what you have and where you come from
  • She will make you believe everything is possible.

If she can push on to become a doctor, coming from a poor country in Africa, married with four children by the age of 18 without a high school diploma, then you can


The Inspirational Story of Dr. Tererai Trent

Dr. Tererai Trent

Dr. Tererai Trent was born in the village of Zvipani, in Karoi District, Mashonaland West province, Zimbabwe.

From this challenging beginning, she was made to believe in the possibility of achieving her dreams.

Which took on a journey filled with so many challenges.

But because she never gave up, despite moments when she felt like doing so, she has achieved what many will say impossible.

She has achieved a Ph.D., written 3 books and with the help of a $1.5million donation from Oprah built a school in her village in Zimbabwe.

Her Challenging Foundation

She had a mother and grandmother who had both being married off early and who were both uneducated.

She was born in a community in which she was not allowed to go to school because they were poor and she was a girl. Priority was given to the boys because they were considered the future breadwinners of the family.

A teacher convinced her father to send her to school when he found out she was doing her brother’s homework after she taught herself to read and write using his books.

Her primary school period came to an end when her father accepted a cow for her brideprice and married her off young.

She got married to an abusive husband.

She lost a child because she was not able to produce enough milk to feed her child.

How she believed in her dream

dr. tererai trent

After Zimbabwe gained independence, In 1991, many strangers, Americans visited Dr. Tererai Trent’s village.

One of the American ladies found her sitting with some other women, she approached them and asked what were their dreams.

The other women began sharing their dreams but Dr. Trent hesitated to speak up because she never even thought she was allowed to dream.

When The American lady noticed she was silent she turned to her and said “young woman you haven’t said anything, tell me what are your dreams”

Dr. Trent hesitated but finally, she said,

She wants to go to America, she wants to have an undergraduate degree, a master and a Ph.D.

The other women looked at her in surprise, like she was crazy, here was someone who didn’t even have a high school diploma talking about getting up to the level of Ph.D.


tinogona said by Dr. tererai trent

Then The American lady looked at her and said ” yes it is achievable. If you desire those dreams if you desire to change your life, yes Tinogona”.

Tinogona in Dr. Trent’s language meaning ‘it is achievable’.

Dr. Tererai Trent then went and told her mother about this experience.

Her mother encouraged her to go for her dreams.

She encouraged her to write down her dreams and bury them but first, she must add one more dream.

That is coming back to have an impact on her community. her mum said

” your dreams in life will have greater meaning when they are tied to the betterment of your community .”

She did just that and the journey began.

The Road to her dreams

a roadIt would then take her 8 years to get her high school diploma.

8 years of so many challenges.

Her mother who was her financial support was very poor and could only afford to pay for the registration of some of the subjects she needed to get her diploma.

Dr. Trent went throw correspondence studies, as she was old for school.

She would write her exams and send to Cambridge and will wait for about 3 to 6 months for a brown envelope to come.

An envelope she had the results of her labor.

Several times she opened the envelope and found out she had a  U, ungraded.

She never gave up, for 8 years and finally, she opened the envelope and saw an A and a B.

Her move to the States

a plane in the sky

She later moved to the state with her husband and five children, where she earned her undergraduate degree in agriculture.

She later went further to attain her master’s degree in plant pathology, under very harsh conditions.

Her entire family stayed in a trailer.

It got very hot during the summer.

During her studies, one morning, she realized her children had bleeding gums.

Through some arrangements with a store, she was able to get some fruits and vegetables which were already getting rotten and been thrown in the trash can.

Dr. Tererai Trent says this was one of the times when she considered giving up.

She could not bear seeing her children suffer at the expense of her dream.

But she was able to stay on strong partially due to the fact that she was able to get in touch with gratitude during this tough period.

Sure she was living under harsh conditions but there were so many women back home who were not even able to get the opportunities she had been fortunate enough to have.

Sure she was getting food out of the trash can but at least the trash cans in America, unlike back home are being washed.

Travel back in time

a clock

After attaining her masters she decided to find a job.

She felt the challenges were so much and she won’t be going for her Ph.D. anymore.

So she applied for a job and got accepted.

One day at work, she met this lady who stopped her.

This lady looked at her and said, “I think I know you”.

At first, Dr. Trent didn’t recognize this lady but later on, she realized this was the lady who had inspired her some 14 years back to believe in her dreams.

This lady, Jo Luck was now the CEO of Heifer International, the organization which had just employed her.

How she earned her PhD

Dr. tererai trent collecting her phd

So the first holiday Dr. Trent visited home, she went to the spot were she had buried her dreams.

She dug up the piece of paper where she had written her dreams.

She checked 3 of her dreams and looking back at her were the 2 dreams still unaccomplished.

So she returned back to the state, enrolled in the university and began her Ph.D.

It took her 20 years from the day she had first burried her dreams to the day she finally became Dr. Tererai Trent.

She says as she walked towards the stage to collect her certificate, she felt like a lawyer who had said I rest my case on my argument that all things are possible if we hard for it.

How she achieved the dream of giving back

dr. tererai trent in her school

When she attained her PHD, she was now left with one dream looking back at her.

A dream she didn’t know how she will achieve.

She wanted to give back to her community by building a school in her village but she didn’t have the finance to.

She later on had an idea to make some inspirational T-shirts and sell , an idea which was not very successful.

Then she got the call from Oprah.

Oprah had heard about her story and her present goal.

Oprah invited her on her show and after a heartfelt conversation, Oprah informed her she will be donating $1.5 million for the building of the school in her village.

The Complete story from Dr. Tererai Trent.

Of course, I left out some stuff, it will literally take me more than 20 years, to talk about 20 years.

And who better to  tell the story than the exceptional lady who lived it.

Get a copy of her book the girl who burried her dreams, available on amazon.

In this book, she gives a more detailed account of her journey to success.

All the questions you have about ‘how’ will be answered there.

Some outstanding lessons from Dr. Tererai Trent’s story


I will like to concluding by sharing with you some of the outstanding lesson Dr. Trent teaches us.

1. It’s not about the education. It’s not about the personal goals, neither is it about the personal financial goals, but it is about how our personal goals are connected to the greater good. That’s what makes humanity, that’s what makes who we are as a people.

2. You have the power within . it’s not your past that’s going to define who you are, but it’s what you believe about yourself, it’s what you believe about your own expectation, what is it that you expect from yourself.

3. I knew at the end of the tunnel , despite it’s darkness, there was a light. And I knew I had the solution in me.

4. The universe has a way to honor our dreams, if only we believe and we become determined and work hard towards our goals.

5. If we believe in our dreams, yes we can achieve.

6. If we believe in the dreams of others and create platforms for the opportunities, yes they can achieve their dreams.

7. It was not because of my intelligence but because of the opportunities that I had been given in life.

8. There are 2 kinds of hunger in our lives. There is the little hunger. the little hunger is all about ” I want it now”, Immediate gratification. But the great hunger, the greatest of all hunger, which is the hunger that we all have is a hunger for a meaningful life.

9. Once we realize that we have the power to find that solution within us, we begin to hear the stirring in our own heart, pointing us to something greater than who we are.

10. When we become grounded, fear, doubt, ” I could have done that, I could have.. will disappear because we know we have what it takes to achieve our goals in life.

11. if you have a goal written down with intention, you can visualize the future you deserve.

tererai trent's story

Get some more inspiration and guide for an incredible life by Dr. Tererai Trent

In case you have not gotten enough of Dr. Trent, I know I haven’t, you will want to check out her self-help book The awakened woman

I hope you found this story inspiring, as much as I have.

I will like to know, what was your greatest take away from Dr. Trent’s story?

As usual, my friend go be legendary.


  • Adamu2

    I absolutely love this insightful article because it is full of great information. This is fascinating and interesting to me.this article is extremely well understood ,it shows us a road to success and how to achieve a desired dream.dreams are just a mere dream if action isn’t taking to it. We must work to make out dreams a reality. The story about this woman is  challenge to me. Thanks for putting together this lovely article 

    • Etah

      Hello Adamu,

      I am glad this article helped you reflect on your own journey, I think we all need stories like this to remind us that we are not alone in the world of ups and downs.

      Best regards to you. 

  • Jason

    Very Inspirational story, bless her heart. I know it takes a lot out of you living a life
    like this, and to achieve so much despite all the obstacles in her way.

    That’s one hard working lady. I do have one question? How long ago was this? Was this recent?

  • Ilaisaane Tuakalau

    Dr Tererari Trent’s story is an inspiration and you have whetted my appetite to purchase “the girl who buried her dreams” for my own collection of inspiring women leaders’ books. 

    Your article has given me more self-caring insights into my own life and the fact that you have added a story of a woman makes it even more amazing. I like how you listed those motivational points. The one I aspire to in my own personal journey is to one day give whatever, i have achieved back to my community also.

    Thank you for your light, in this dark world, it gives hope to many and a voice to those who have none. Keep writing my dear.

    • Etah

      I am glad you found this article inspiring, your words are so encouraging thanks.

      You are so right we definitely need a lot more light in this challenging world of ours.

      My greatest desire is to give back too and I commend you for having such beautiful goals.

  • Louis

    This is really very inspirational. That’s why I love the African woman because, she is so strong and would never give up on her dreams. I wish a lot of women in Africa can begin to dream big for themselves as Dr. Trent did. I wish I could get this book for a lot of young girls in my community, to help them understand that there’s more to a woman than a career in the kitchen. 

    Thanks for sharing, regards

    • Etah

      wow, Louis, you are so right, many African ladies need this to mold our minds.

      I really love women like Dr. Trent and so many other which makes us believe in the possibility of an African woman been much better than the ingredients she can blend, no shade on awesome cooks though, I really love food. 🙂

  • jaykaynigltd

    Wow what an inspiring story! This is a case of from grass to grace. I have always believed that everything is possible but not certain. The uncertainty is always the dream killer but with persistent and perseverance not is impossible. The story is incomplete because you couldn’t write it all in one article, but I have to read it to the end and thanks for sharing the link to the full story. It is a must read for me.

    i look forward to reading more inspiring stories on this page. Nothing motivate more than success stories

    • Etah

      You are so right, Jay.

      persistence and perseverance is the way to go.

      True, The whole story was too much for one article and also copyrights issues 🙂

      Success stories have really helped me believe in the numerous possibilities out there and I have lots more to share in subsequent posts.

      Best regards to you

  • Nuttanee

    What an inspiring woman. Her story has made me reflect about myself on what I have done so far and was I persistent enough to pursue my dream. To be honest, because I take things for granted, If I were here in the situation where she has to take food from the garbage, I would have packed my bags and leave. However, she stick to it and she finally got what she was looking for and got to help her village as well. Dr. Trent made me want to be more productive in life. Thanks for sharing this awesome story and I will go out and be legendary 🙂

    • Etah

      Yes, Nuttanee, I love your reflections.

      I believe it is very important to look back at our past actions with the goal to be better.

      Dr. Trent’s story is really one which makes us strengthen our efforts and feel so blessed to quit.

      I am glad this article was helpful to you.

      All the best to you.

  • Tolu

    Wao. This is quite inspiring. Many thanks to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. I’m encouraged by this story not to give up on my dreams. When I was in my teenager years, I cherished some dreams, however, as I grew up,I have abandoned some of these dreams. The story of this woman has strengthened my resolve to pursue these dreams. Despite her age and the discomfort her family went through, she pursued her dreams and gave back to her community.

    • Etah

      hello Tolu,

      I am glad this article has inspired you to retake up some of the dreams you left behind, great plan.

      Rest assured it is never too late to start and the best time to start is now.

      All the best on your journey

  • Randy

    What a wonderful story of what can be accomplished with a sincere desire to succeed. You did a masterful job telling the story of how Dr. Tererai Trent overcame immeasurable obstacles. I really want to know the detailed challenges she was able to overcome and I plan to purchase a copy of “The Girl Who Buried Her Dreams”.  I’m sure it’s very inspirational. 

    It also appears that Dr. Tererai Trent is a very insightful individual. Her book “The Awakened Women” looks to be full of inspirational thoughts and wisdom that anyone looking for self-improvement needs in their library. I am a firm believer that you must visualize how you want your future to be. By sending a clear vision out to the universe, you’ll receive the future you desire.


    • Etah

      Hello Randy,

      Truly, Dr. Trent, is a really inspiring is a really inspiring lady. 

      Great choice purchasing her book, so much more insight and value to be found there.

      You are so right, visualizing our dreams takes us a step closer to making them come true.

  • Yormith96

    Hi there, reading the life story of this great woman and how she achieved her dream in life of having Phd and also giving back to her local community in her village in zimbabwe is truly not just a story but an inspirational story to help readers not just women but men as well to understand in life that can achieve their dream in life no matter the situation or challenges they might be passing through. Their goal should always be they should keep their desire for success burning more than desire for failure, if they can dream it,yes,its achievable, they can do it, thanks for sharing this inspirational story of Dr. Tererai Trent

    • Etah

      It was a pleasure sharing.

      You have that right, she is an inspiration to all.

      An inspiration to stop the excuses and get motivated to put in the work needed to achieve our goals.

  • Louis

    I am really inspired by Dr Trent’s story. I believe more media outlet should showcase this story to the young African girls, to help them know that we all are responsible for our dreams and our ambitions. My greatest take from Dr Trent’s story is that even though you are not as young, you can still achieve as much.

    • Etah

      So true Louis, age should not limit us from achieving our dreams.

      we can’t let people tell us we are too old or too young.

      Yeah, the media needs to join in the fight to inspire young girls

  • Ayodeji

    Great writeup and wonderful post too. This is really inspirational and very much touching. It shows what is achievable when we don’t give up on our dreams even when the circumstances that surrounds ups makes it seems impossible. I love how she’s able to speak her mind and how she’s able to not let the society hold her down even when she was old for school and ungraded. I’m really moved by how her life turned around for the better, great work putting this up for your readers. 

    • Etah

      Yeah, she is a really inspirational lady.

      she makes us believe we all can, the only difference between those who succeed and those who are not is that the successful put in the work and never give up.

      Thanks for reading through.

  • Yormith96

    Hello there, reading the life story of this great woman and how she achieved her dream in life of having Phd and also giving back to her local community in her village in zimbabwe is truly not just a story but an inspirational story to help readers not just women but men as well to understand in life that can achieve their dream in life no matter the situation or challenges they might be passing through.if they can dream it,yes,its achievable, they can do it, thanks for sharing this inspirational story of this great and giving woman, it’s truly inspiring,  I have learn alot from the true life story

  • Peace

    Hi Etah, I must commend your good work of inspiring me. Your blog has been a great inspiration to me. 

    Reading Dr. Tererai Trent’s story, has taken me over the roof with motivation. 

    From her story, I have learned never to doubt my dreams, never to see them as not achievable. 

    I would take a cue from her and write my dreams and bury them, believing that I’d come back one day to tick off my achievements, one by one. 

    • Etah

      Wow, great move, Peace.

      Let’s write down our dreams and always keep them in mind.

      I am glad you found her story inspiring, it was a really life-changing story for me too.

      best wishes to you

  • Adamu2

    Thanks for such a brilliant post, this is clearly is a motivational post.Tererai Trent journey to success was a torching story. She has given me reason not to lose hope and never to stop dreaming .i learnt how working towards dream is so important in the journey to success. If we believe in our dream, yes we can have it. I would love to get the above mention boom. “A girl that buried her dream”.A goal well written down can be achieved faster. Regards. 

    • Etah

      I am glad my summary of her story inspiring, I am certain you will find the entire much more inspiring when you read her books.

      You can get them from Amazon in the links I provided above.

  • Fortune

    This is an interesting, inspiring and a motivational article about Dr Tereira Trent. This story about this woman indicate that there is nothing impossible to achieve in life of we are focus and determined even in the face of challenges. Giving up is not an option, we should not give room for discouragement. Her will power made it possible and that made Oprah to key into her dreams and support her with such money. I am being inspired the more and i agree to this quote that ” your dreams in life will have greater meaning when they are tied to the betterment of your community”. Our dream at the end just impact our family and community. I am inspired and I won’t give up. Please which country is Oprah from? Thanks for this great post. 

    • Etah

      Hello Fortune,

      I am glad this post inspired you to not give up on your goals despite the challenges we all may face along the road.

      Oprah is an American, entrepreneur, philanthropist and formal host of the highly renowned Oprah Winfrey show.

  • Henry

    Hi! This is truly an inspiring story! Despite such a difficult start in life, she continued on. Despite all the adversities, she reached her goals.

    I like the moment she went back to her home town and dug up the piece of paper where she had written her dreams. It must have been such a powerful moment when she realized she had already accomplished 3 of her 5 dreams.

    I want to read more of her story. Thank you very much for this post

    • Etah

      It was a pleasure, sharing this truly inspiring story.

      I am glad you found it helpful.

      Yeah, I really believe it was an eye-watering moment for her after all of the challenges she had gone through.

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