A collage containing the images of a girl child and a woman are being widely shared claiming that both the images show the same person, and she has become the education minister of New Zealand after 20 years. Another post claims that she’s the education minister of France. Let’s verify the claims made in these posts.
Claim: Photo collage featuring the childhood and current images of New Zealand/France Education Minister.
Fact: First photo belongs to a Moroccan girl named ‘Fouzia’ who was 8 years old when the photograph was taken in 2006. Second photo shows ‘Najat Vallaud-Belkacem’, the former education minister of France (2014-17). Even though Najat was born in Morocco and helped her family with sheep, the girl in the viral photo is not her. Also, she never worked as New Zealand’s Education Minister. Hence the claim made in the post is FALSE
We ran a reverse image search using the image of the child and found that it is featured on a website of ‘We are Water Foundation’.
According to Le Monde, this photo was taken by UNICEF photographer ‘Giacomo Pirozzi’ in 2006 in Morocco. The image shows ‘Fouzia’ who is 8 years old at that time. UNICEF specifies that she had gone to school for a year but later discontinued due to financial problems.
Similarly, reverse image search of the the second photo in the collage led us to same photo available on the Getty images website. The description of the image states- ‘French Education Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem leaves a weekly cabinet meeting on October 29, 2014, at the Elysee presidential palace in Paris”.
In an interview, she said, “Reports in the French press that I was a child shepherd hold a grain of truth: I was born in Morocco and lived in Bni Chiker, a mountain hamlet in the north. My early childhood was spent as a country girl living with near and extended family, all under one roof. We were quite poor. I helped my grandfather with the goats, drew water from a well, and spent most of the day in flip-flops.”
Even though Najat is from Morocco and helped his family with sheep, the girl child in the viral photo doesn’t show her. Moreover, Najat never worked as New Zealand’s education minister and the current Educational Minister of New Zealand is a man named “Chris Hipkins”.
To sum it up, both the images in the viral post shows two different unrelated people.