Oprah Goes to School

@zal3x89 (280)
Romania
January 1, 2007 11:30am CST
True, the world's most successful woman has always shared her wealth. But her latest project is really one for the books. Jan. 8, 2007 issue - Two thousand and six was the year Africa went Hollywood: Madonna, Clooney, Brangelina. And now, in 2007, the most exclusive spot on the continent will undoubtedly be in the town of Henly-on-Klip, about 40 miles outside Johannesburg. Set on 22 lush acres and spread over 28 buildings, the complex features oversize rooms done in tasteful beiges and browns with splashes of color, 200-thread-count sheets, a yoga studio, a beauty salon, indoor and outdoor theaters, hundreds of pieces of original tribal art and sidewalks speckled with colorful tiles. Julia Roberts, John Travolta, Stevie Wonder, Nelson Mandela and the reigning African Queen herself—Angelina Jolie—are expected to attend the grand opening this week. By now, you're probably wondering how much a spread like this goes for per night. Actually, it's free. There's only one catch—you have to be a 12- or 13-year-old African girl to get in. As spectacular as this place sounds, it's not a resort. It's a school: the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls. Winfrey has spent five years and $40 million building the school to her own Oprahlicious specifications—did we mention the huge fireplaces in every building? The talk-show diva always does things in grand style, of course. But $40 million for a school for impoverished girls in Africa does seem a bit, well, extravagant. In fact, the South African government had planned to build the school with her, but it pulled out amid reported criticism that the academy was too elitist and lavish for such a poor country. Oprah doesn't care. "These girls deserve to be surrounded by beauty, and beauty does inspire," she says, sitting on the couch of her hotel suite overlooking the deep-blue Indian Ocean. "I wanted this to be a place of honor for them because these girls have never been treated with kindness. They've never been told they are pretty or have wonderful dimples. I wanted to hear those things as a child." What do you think about that???
2 people like this
17 responses
@bicho88 (21)
• United States
2 Jan 07
I used to dislike Oprah...but in the last few months I have realized she is such a kind person....This project further supports my sympathy towards her....I think she's doing great because it is true that thereare people who have the talent to succeed, yet they don't have the financial resources to reach their goals.... "and the reigning African Queen Herself-Angelina Jolie-" hahahahahahaha.....that was funny......
1 person likes this
@timou87 (1642)
• Singapore
2 Jan 07
I dont think there is anything wrong with what Oprah has done, instead I wholeheartedly applaud her actions! Just because Africa is considered to be poor does not mean it should deprive its children from having great aspirations and dreams! And also Oprah sets an example for the people of a county whose leaders are only interested in waging wars for their own vested interests. Bravo Oprah!
1 person likes this
@sharone74 (4839)
• United States
2 Jan 07
I think it is fantastic I think it is commendable and it does the richest woman in the world credit to give like this to those who are less fortunate and less priveleged than herself. She was not always rich nor as good looking as she is now and I think that the philanthropic things that she does are not only a blessing for those who will receive the benefits of such a school but also on her. As they say you cannot take it with you and to my knowledge Oprah has no children.
@Ambur25 (1007)
• United States
2 Jan 07
I think it's truly amazing. Oprah Winfrey has done so much for so many people around the world. If she has the money and heart to do so, so be it! No one should stand in her way. More wealthy people should be like her, and not keep their wealth to themselves or spend it on stupid things. =)
1 person likes this
2 Jan 07
I can see your point, it may cause divisions in the community and problems between children who do or don't go to the school. However the concept is excellent. Its a shame there aren't more people in the world putting thier efforts into something worthwhile like this project. I don't think she should be criticised for trying to do something for others. And if a few lucky children get a good education out of it then all the better.
1 person likes this
• United States
1 Jan 07
i think as long as she know that the cash will out live her and it has to be spent, make it do what it do!!! and i wouldn't mind if she was to biuld a few schools here in the u.s. too, cause our society feels like it is much better to pay a basketball player 24 million that a teacher $36,000 a year which is the bare minimum to stay a float in in the good old u.s.of a, ...and mind us all that a teacher in u.s. average salary is28 to 30,000 a year maybe less in some places, i wonder what gym teacher taught cody, king james, and carmelo how to pop there wrist when shooting a free throw or how to box out........oprah do yo thang girl and do it big!!!! ...i ain't mad at ya!!!!
@Kelly16 (253)
• Philippines
2 Jan 07
I always love Oprah, that why I read your post even if it's too long. That's one quality Oprah has, she always share herself to the less fortunate and when she means sharing it's really SHARING. He looks after her roots and when he help other she doesn't settle for second best but she gives her best. Actually what she did is awesome and excellent.
@Kelly16 (253)
• Philippines
2 Jan 07
She looks after her roots and when she help other she doesn't settle for second best but she gives her best. Actually what she did is awesome and excellent.
@gigarange (1165)
• United States
2 Jan 07
That's true Kelly. She is awesome.
@bugbaby (1788)
• Indonesia
2 Jan 07
She was not always rich nor as good looking as she is now and I think that the philanthropic things that she does are not only a blessing for those who will receive the benefits of such a school but also on her. I think she's doing great because it is true that thereare people who have the talent to succeed, yet they don't have the financial resources to reach their goals
@gigarange (1165)
• United States
2 Jan 07
This is such a good project. I always admire Oprah for always helping and reaching out to the less fortunate ones especially to the kids. I hope there will be many Oprah hearted celebrities who would help people and do it sincerely, not just for publicity and all.
@rosebug23 (1909)
• Australia
2 Jan 07
I think it is a bit extravagant but i can see what she means and wants to achieve, give them the best and they will expect the best . when they finish school they will be so used to the best they will not want to go back to the poverty and they will have the education to help them get what they want and to live in surroundings similar to to school. They see the other side and aim for that. I think Oprah does some wonderful work for the underprivileged and children and her Angel network is just that a network of Angels helping others.
@volschenkh (1045)
• South Africa
2 Jan 07
As a South African, I feel extremely honoured and excited that Oprah Winfrey chose South Africa as her destination to do her good work. South Africa has 12.3-million learners, some 386 600 teachers and 26 292 schools, including 1 098 registered independent or private schools. Many of these schools are under-staffed over-populated with as much as 40-50 learners per class, and lacks essential resources. Many of the teachers also don't have the proper qualifications to be teaching. Furtehrmore, 1000's of these schools have very little resources to teach with; scarcity of book and access to computers, the circumstances within these schools are hectic and can in no way possibly promote learning and development. The matric pass rate, which was as low as 40% in the late 1990s, continues to improve each year, reaching 68.3% in 2005. That means that 30% of all school-finishing learners are STILL failing. So for Oprah to go "over board" with the lavishness of the new school that she is donating, its just a miracle to me. She will give a few girls the opportunity to really develop and learn. I know it sounds like just a drop in the ocean, but believe me the education system in SA is in such a dilemma, that every single drop COUNTS and will make a significant contribution. All I can say, is thank you to Miss Oprah Winfery and God bless you!
• United States
2 Jan 07
I think that she had the right idea, but I am not a fan of overdoing things when the money might be spread further and to more young girls. I wonder if this will work in the end as the girls become more different than their peers. How will they handle the honor and privilege of going to this school? I can't imagine the pressure! I hope it all works out
@trysameer (219)
• India
2 Jan 07
its her grattitude that she stepped in da school ..
@plumwish07 (4060)
• Indonesia
2 Jan 07
wow, thats another excellent program that oprah made again. i really admire oprah coz mostly she use her wealthness to help another people, to build good social community, to increase education of poor children and lots more. coz of her, many hollywood celebrities involved on social charity to poor people. i wish i can meet her someday or at least she comes to my country :)
@DavidReedy (2411)
• United States
2 Jan 07
Okay, I'm daring to be pounced on here. But, why aren't that many celebrities doing things to fix the problems in our country, or if they are how come their isn't media coverage? We got homelessness, prejudice, AIDS, government corruption, racism, sexism, (and all other forms of prejudice), educational barriers, ecological problems)... Not trying to be selfish. Just saying it doesn't make sense to try to fix the community if you don't take care of your own lawn. What Oprah's doing is awesome, by the way, but I stand by my point, especially since the U.S. is in the business of invading other countries and "spreading democracy" and American capitalism, you'd think we'd live in some kind of Utopia before telling others how to live.
@beverly1 (1130)
• United States
2 Jan 07
i think its amazing she trying to help other out
@ash6666 (819)
• India
2 Jan 07
OOPRAH...OOO AAHH,ONE NICE HUMANITY STRUCTURE,A ROLE FOR INSPIRATION.SHE CAME FROM A MIDDLE CLASS FAMILY.STILL SHE ISNT PROUD OF THA MONEY OR FAME SHE GOT.SHE IS FEELING HER TO DO GOOD THINGS WHICH WILL BE USEFUL TO MANY PEOPLE.ALL THE BEST.ONE GREAT LADY.