Sharmi Surianarain

Youth employment advocate
A keen analyst and thinker on the future of work, Sharmi Surianarain is a fierce advocate for opportunity and social justice for young people and women across the African continent.

Why you should listen

Sharmi Surianarain is the chief impact officer for Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator in South Africa. She leads on Harambee's impact and systems change agendas, including their funder partnerships, research and learning agenda as well as their data science and pathway intelligence work. Surianarain also oversees Harambee's work in Rwanda and is the founder of Making Caring Count, a social enterprise that aims to build impactful solutions around care work in Africa.

Surianarain is an Aspen African Leadership Initiative Fellow (class of 2020), an RSA Fellow, a member of the boards of Emerging Public Leaders, Metis, Instill Education and is on the 2021 G7 Impact Taskforce. Her work has been featured in the Huffington Post, The Daily Maverick, The Mail and Guardian and The Economist. She holds a BA from Harvard University and master's degrees from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management. Surianarain is also a singer-songwriter and jazz musician, with a debut EP titled Lost, released in 2023.

Sharmi Surianarain’s TED talk