This shepherd girl did NOT grow up to be the French Education Minister

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A picture collage of former Education Minister of France, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, and a little shepherd girl is doing the rounds on social media.
The caption of the picture claims that the small girl on the left side of the collage is Najat Vallaud-Belkacem 20 years ago.
“The girl on the left herding sheep in Morocco, the women on the right is the same girl 20 years later, as France’s Minister of Education, ” the caption read.


NewsMobile checked the authenticity of the news on Google Search using keywords.
We came across many media reports from 2016 that have used the same image in the stories.
However, when we reverse searched the image of the little girl, we found something very different. A search on Metadata showed us that the image belonged to UNICEF.
The description of the picture read: “Eight-year-old Fouzia rests on a stone in front of a herd of sheep in Tamezaghete Village in the rural district of Iguerferouane in Al Haouz Province. Fouzia attended school for one year but had to drop out because her parents could not afford her books. In 2006 in Morocco, education and health care are improving. The overall poverty rate is approximately 15 per cent, with two-thirds of the poor living in rural areas. The nation has one of the highest child labour rates in the MENA region. Government statistics show that 11 per cent of children, from 7 to 14 years old, engage in some form of labour, which often precludes them from attending school for sustained periods.”
The picture was clicked by photographer Giacomo Pirozzi.

Although the girl in the picture is not Najat, the education minister did grow up in Morocco. Vallaud-Belkacem was born on 4 October 1977 in the rural Rif region of Morocco. In an interview, she said that she moved to France in 1982 when she was four. Her father moved to France in 1975 to work in the construction sector.
So, the little girl in the collage is NOT the younger version of the French minister, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem.

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