Hyderabad: A collage of two photographs is viral on social media.

Users clam the picture features a young shepherd from Morocco who went on to become France's Education Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem before she demitted office.

Fact Check:

The claim is False.

NewsMeter performed a reverse search and we found that the photograph was clicked by United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) photographer Giacomo Pirozzi in Morocco on June 15, 2005. Fouzia was eight years old at that time.

The photo was published in one of the editions of UNICEF's Child Notice Morocco. The original photograph can be seen on page number 26.

The claim was first debunked in 2016 by Les Décodeurs, the fact-checking project of the French newspaper Le Monde (although the adult woman on the right-hand side is indeed Vallaud-Belkacem).


A spokesperson for UNICEF sent the original photograph to the fact-checking website `Snopes', which debunked the claim in 2018. It described the subject: "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."

Although the girl pictured here is not Vallaud-Belkacem, the former education minister did grow up in a rural part of Morocco, as she recalled in a 2013 radio interview with France Info. Translated in English: "I have memories in which I'm with my grandfather, minding the goats, for example; or where I'm fetching water from the well because we didn't have running water, or electricity for that matter."

We found that this claim has been doing rounds on several social media platforms and many fact-checking websites have debunked it.

Click here to see the old claims and debunked ones.


Hence, it is evident that the little girl in the viral picture is not Vallaud-Belkacem.

Claim Review :   Shepherd kid in viral picture is France’s former education minister
Claimed By :  Social Media Users
Fact Check :  False

Sabya Singh

Sabya is currently a fact-checker at NewsMeter and a full-time reporter with Hans India. she has a keen interest in pursuing stories of education, women and child development and loves photography. She is pursuing her M.A in mass communication and journalism from St.Francis of women. she is an avid reader and paints in her spare time.

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