Oprah's $40 Million School To Open

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  1. Oprah Winfrey's $40 Million School to Open

    MONDAY JANUARY 01, 2007 09:35 AM EST
    By Stephen M. Silverman

    Oprah Winfrey is getting ready to open the $40 million school she paid to have built in South Africa – in grand Oprah style.

    The 22-acre Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in the town of Henly-on-Klip is holding its big opening this week. Reportedly due to attend the ceremonies are Julia Roberts, John Travolta, Stevie Wonder, Nelson Mandela and Angelina Jolie, according to Newsweek magazine.

    Winfrey, who handpicked the 152 12- and 13-year-old girls (out of the more than 3,5000 who applied), tells the magazine that the students "deserve to be surrounded by beauty, and beauty does inspire."

    And that's what they will get. Winfrey personally chose the pleated uniforms the girls will wear, as well as the 200-thread count sheets. She also tested out the beds to make sure they are comfortable and had extra large closets built. The school also includes a yoga studio, a beauty salon and indoor and outdoor theaters.

    "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."

    As for critics who've said she should focus her efforts on the U.S., Winfrey, who has contributed to many American charities, says she was moved by the South African children's desire for an education.

    "I really became frustrated with the fact that all I did was write check after check," the media mogul, 52, tells Newsweek of her previous charitable giving. "At a certain point, you want to feel that connection."

    Winfrey, who devoted five years to creating the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls outside Johannesburg, also said of the assistance she has given at home, "I became so frustrated with visiting inner-city schools that I just stopped going. The sense that you need to learn just isn't there."

    In America, she says, "If you ask the kids what they want or need, they will say an iPod or some sneakers. In South Africa, they don't ask for money or toys. They ask for uniforms so they can go to school."

    Winfrey has called the Leadership Academy "the fulfillment of my work on earth."
  2. I like Oprah and I like what she does, but this!!! She is only gave this oppertunity to 152 girls!!! Maybe instead of a beaty salon, theater and large closets she could have hired more teachers and given more than a tiny 152 girls a chance to learn. I am glad that she is trying to help but how do you pick that small of a number out of such a big number. What was the criteria that they had to meet? Sorry for the rant :confused1:
  3. Before I start, Prada - love the new pic!

    I think it's a good start. The number is small in comparison to the number of girls in need but you have to start somewhere. I'm sure there was some difficulty in staffing and I'm sure the student to teacher ratios are low.

    Sometimes you just have to do more than write a check. In the states we are halted with red tape and I think that our priorities are a little skewed. The problem is just as big but it needs to be addressed differently.

  4. OT .... Thanks gloss ! :heart:
  5. Oprah's so cool and generous...awesome post PM!
  6. Always giving! :heart:
  7. I agree with you 100%! I know she is doing good, but cmon, I know she does have a lot of money, maybe she can help more girls!
  8. Oprah is a very giving person, i love how she help everyone as much as she could.

  9. I also agree. I mean "...(out of the more than 3,5000 who applied)". I think it is wonderful and all, but only 152. I know her people will say, "you can't please everyone" and "at least she is doing something", but we need to be realistic. I bet those who weren't selected feel horrible and are wondering what was wrong with them. Feeling how Oprah put it about not hearing that she was pretty, etc. Also, of course american kids don't care as much about education, look at what the media throws at us 24 hours a day. Plus, you don't even need to be that talented anymore to become famous because there are a ton of people behind you creating the "image". People are famous for just being famous now-a-days. With caring people and education those "inner city" kids probably wouldn't be materialistic and value every opportunity given to them. It's really a sad cycle.
  10. I agree with vbskull - why spend $40 mill to only let such a small number of girls in? I know its great for her to do it but doesn't make much sense to only have a select few.
  11. Maybe she wanted to give them a high quality school. An amazing place to learn instead of spreading the money around too thinly so that it doesn't do much of anything. Perhaps she wanted to give the girls who most desired education this school. I see absolutely nothing wrong, and I applaud her! Nobody else has done this...ever!! She cannot do this for all of Africa, this is 40 million!!! I personally feel that this will benefit South Africa in the future, much more than giving each child a book or something for that amount of money.
  12. Wow, this is fantastic. Actually, I always said when I was younger that I wanted to build a school in Africa... I'm so happy that someone actually went and did it!!! :yahoo:Of course, it starts small, but I'm sure it will have a HUGE impact on S Africa and will grow bigger in the future! Way to go Oprah :nuts:

    News like this make me feel all warm inside :love:
  13. Down with Oprah!!
  14. The school will eventually accept around 450 girls. (FYI)
  15. I agree that she should have let more girls in rather than put a yoga studio in!
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