Born to a Nigerian father and a Mauritanian mother, Zuriel Oduwole has championed the advocacy for the ‘Girl Child Education’ across the world for almost a decade now. The young ambassador just graduated and she shared the news in excitement. See her beautiful words below..
“And then I GRADUATED Today
For those of you who don’t know, my dad quit his job 9 years ago when I was 10, because I told him I needed his help to start my girl’s education advocacy and fight for out of school girls. He said he couldn’t just help me for 3 months, because what I was asking for would take a lot longer – So , he quit his job. Thanks Dad !!!.
And then, I graduated high school at 15. Both my parents knew I was too young to be on some college campus, doing what I was doing, and with the way the world is today too. So, they held me back a year – [I took a gap year]. In that time, I continued traveling, speaking, and making the case for girl’s education, also visiting Mozambique and meeting President Felipe Nyusi in March 2018. I showed him me as an example of what an educated girl can do, and I asked why girls in his country were getting married at 12 and 14, and 16. He listened. I asked him – wouldn’t you want the girls in your country to do what I am doing? Then, 16 months later and with the help of others too, Mozambique FINALLY outlawed girl marriage. That same month and year in July 2019, I enrolled in University of California, Los Angeles as a graduating class of 2023 member.
But I knew I couldn’t do as much as I was doing before, with university work. I was also sad because I knew adversity against girls wouldn’t take a break while I was in school. So, I worked even harder, doing more course work, attending more classes than my peers, no partying – all while still traveling to fight for girl’s education, visiting Sierra Leone, and Nigeria, and Egypt, and speaking last December at the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) in Doha, and taking my exams in between flights and in hotels [it was tough – very tough].
Guess what, I just graduated today from UCLA – a year and 1 month early as a graduating class of 2022 member, in Cognitive Science, Public Affairs and Computing, as a 19-year-old. We kids are kind of flexible – push us, we won’t break – and us girls are sooooo resilient, try us, and we would fly even higher. Thank you to all those who “inspired”, “encouraged”, “prayed” for, & “lifted” me up the last many years. My journey continues”..