Sharmi Surianarain is a solutions design executive at Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator, focusing on expanding Harambee’s impact across the African continent. Sharmi has nearly two decades of experience in social impact, human capital management, education, and facilitating pathways to opportunity across Africa, India, and the United States. Sharmi’s life mission is to be an “opportunity activist” for young people from all backgrounds, opening doors at all levels of education and employment, particularly on the African continent. As a solutions design executive for Africa at Harambee, Sharmi oversees Harambee’s geographic expansion and scaling approach across new markets including Rwanda, where she works closely with government and private sector stakeholders to identify pathways for youth into employment and income-generation. Prior to that, Sharmi served as Vice President for Lifelong Engagement at African Leadership Academy (ALA), where she laid the foundation for ALA and the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Programme careers network, indirectly enabling nearly 25,000 youth from 40+ African countries to access internships, early career opportunities, and employability interventions across the African continent.
Sharmi holds a B.A. from Harvard University, a master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Sharmi currently serves as a board member of the Metis Fund, which serves to accelerate the pace of education reform in East Africa, and Ongoza, which supports youth entrepreneurs in Kenya. She lives in Nairobi, Kenya, with her husband and two children.