Zuriel is an 11-year-old champion for girls education in Africa.

Zuriel is an 11-year-old champion for girls education in Africa.

It’s not often that a young girl makes a Top 100 list, ranking among powerful politicians and celebrities. Yet in 2013, Zuriel Oduwole was ranked among New African Magazine’s “Top 100 Most Influential People in Africa” list at the age of 11.

Zuriel is celebrated for being a champion for girls’ empowerment through education. In the past few years, she has interviewed numerous major public figures and directed her own documentary, becoming a veteran journalist. Two years ago, she was named Ethiopian Airlines’ Global Ambassador, becoming part of many projects across the world. She also become the youngest person to ever be interviewed by Forbes Magazine (in their August 2013 edition)!

Originally from Nigeria, Zuriel developed an early passion in advocating for the educational empowerment of girls in Africa. Zuriel was inspired by watching the news and traveling with her parents, seeing young girls who were working jobs at very young ages and unable to gain an education. She launched her “Dream Up, Speak Up, Stand Up” program to encourage girls to be bold in the pursuit of their ambitions; during her tours to promote the program, she was named a Tanzanian ambassador by Tanzania’s First Lady, Salma Kikwete. Her work has made several African leaders–and the African population in general–more aware of girls’ issues in education, helping to spur political work to increase educational access for girls in Africa.

Zuriel isn’t finished yet. In an interview with GirlUp, Zuriel stated, “I want to do more documentaries about girls and women doing great things in places where usually it is men that do those things. I would also like to do documentaries that show the challenges girls face, so maybe those who watch it will be inspired to do something.” She also hopes to pursue a college education, getting her master’s degree and using her skills to teach African women how to tell their stories through film. And she’ll keep working towards her ultimate goal: a world “where everyone’s voice counts, no matter where you are from and what you look like.”

-Tiffany Piotti
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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