OT: Leadership academy for girls

Did anyone watch Oprah’s pimetime special last night? She built a leadership academy for girls in South Africa. It was really amazing to see when she was talking to these girls…they were so smart and articulate and all had such unfortunate tragedies in their lives. It brought tears to my eyes when they first walked into the school and were so excited that they were now going to be able to sleep in a bed instead of on a cold hard floor, they were now going to be able to have a meal everyday instead of once a week. Oprah even promised the girls that when they graduate, she will pay full college tuition for them to any university in the world they want to go to. I know there’s many people out there who don’t particularly like Oprah (I personally love her) but you can’t deny that she is doing something great by giving these girls an amazing opportunity at education :cheering:

I watched most of it.

I have been pretty unhappy with the negative coverage this has incurred. Apparently, she has drawn criticism because she didn’t build the school in the states. :grrr: I think that is so stupid.

A. Even though we still have a way to go, American women have more rights and advantages than most of the women in the world.

B. Is our world view really so small that we think that what happens in Africa does not affect us here? Can’t we see past our own backyard?

C. Feminism isn’t just about the American woman. Unless we chose to protect and to raise up ALL women, we aren’t accomplishing anything.

I am thrilled that she is going to be making such a difference in those girls’ lives.


I totally agree Misty…I’ve heard people saying “well why should she go bulid a school over in Africa when there kids in the U.S. that are going through the same thing?”. Yes, there are many children in the U.S. that are living in horrible conditions, but it seems to me (although I don’t know any numbers or anything) that there are so many more childern in African living in horrible conditions. Almost all of those girls were living in one room houses (if you could even call them that) with no running water and in dangerous neighborhoods. One girl said she prays that she won’t be raped or killed on her way to school…can you imagine living that everyday? IMHO it doesn’t make a difference where the school is, but rather that it is going to help so many young girls get the education and future they deserve…she could’ve built the school anywhere, but who cares where it is? At least she’s doing something, and that’s more than many people can say for themselves.

I personally didn’t see the actuall program, but I love Oprah; and I saw a commercial for it. It seems so amazing that she dedicates so much of her life for these girls. I find it really inspiring

As for the ‘she shouold build a school in the US’ thing, that’s bull :!!!:. We Amaricans have so much more rights and we’re so much better off than most people in the world, we already have a ton of great schools! And, from what I heard, living in Africa really stinks. They should get their perks somtime :teehee:

THREE CHEERS FOR OPRAH!!! :cheering: :cheering: :cheering:

The neg hype mystifies me, as it did when Madonna adopted a child f/Africa earlier. Regardless of WHY she did it, bottom line is she is likely improving the life of that child, and that’s what counts.

As far as the leadership school, and why there wasn’t one here, I thought it was because S. Africa really needs strong(er) leadership, especially women considering how they’re treated there (compared to here), and Oprah and her folks/friends are investing in the future of S. Africa. Think about it, we ALREADY have a lot of strong leaders here in America (maybe too many scrambling, as evidenced by how many potential presidential candidates??), but I figure S. Africa does need it more. C’mon! We have Hilary Clinton as a presidential candidate! Who can name one current female African leader??

Africa is an entire continent devastated by HIV/AIDS, and women/girls definitely get the short end of the stick in an already impoverished situation. What’s not frequently known is that many HIV-infected men rape young (I mean, YOUNG) girls, in the belief that taking their virginity will make their infection disappear (and of course, making the problem worse). Unbelievable ignorance, and they need leaders of both sexes to educate the population and lead them through the AIDS epidemic (including those who’ve grown thru the devastation, and therefore can speak to the people f/their own experiences, w/in their own cultural context).

We are a global family, and what affects one part of us, will affect each and every one of us - I’m betting that those girls in that academy will be blowing us away and benefiting all of us in a few years - imagine their drive!!

This made me mad, too. I realize there are a lot of people in the US who live in poverty, BUT people who live in poverty here have so much more available to them than people in third world countries. Complaining about where Oprah helps is just petty. At least she’s doing something!!

I have been mainly knitting for charity and most of it goes outside the US. I’ve had people ask why I don’t knit for kids here and tell me all about the poverty in the US. Again… poverty here is nothing like in third world countries. Sheesh.

I’m with you guys…

As a product of an all women’s college, I totally support any program that promotes women as leaders and strengthening women’s independence. I haven’t seen the special but of course, I have heard about it (in order to NOT hear about it you’d have to live under a rock!!).

I think it’s silly that people make such mountains out of mole hills!! My response to those people who want to complain about not having the school here that her choice to help elsewhere gives them the chance to help here! If they want it so badly–get started on making it happen and quit whining!

To the folks who complain about what Oprah is doing I ask them “well what are YOU doing to improve the lives of children in the US?”


Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is the president of Liberia :teehee:

I definitely agree that what Oprah did is a good thing and it’s annoying to find people criticizing those who are only trying to construct a fairer world.

However, I think it’s sad that people always portray Africa as devastated by HIV/AIDS, poverty and war. These things are true in many places unfortunately and we must definitely get involved and help. But Africa is a huge continent consisting of many different countries, not just one! There are a lot of positive things happening there as well. I know that many Africans are frustrated that all their efforts and successes are never recognized by the western world. :shrug: Just a thought…

Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is the president of Liberia :teehee: [/quote]

Thank you! I could not for the life of me remember her name! I only remembered Liberia!


I am trying to go back to South Africa this summer crossing fingers, filling out proposals. The neg hype was silly to me, too. Some can’t even afford the school fees to go, and then to have to get proper clothes and shoes for school. Well, anyway.

Of course South Africa does have many wonderful attributes, and I’m dying to go back cuz I had a great time. Among the many amazing things about South Africa were the truth and reconciliation trials after apartheid. It is really just stunning that people were able to face that and work through all that happened out in the open. But still AIDS really will (is?) devastate this country. The province I was in had a 40% positive rate, and the great majority of those can’t afford the best medicine available, so they just die. 40%. Everytime I imagine where those 2 out of 5 people will be 10 years from now, I get sick. And South Africa gets lots of attention and therefore comparatively more aid than most other African countries. I get the same sick feeling when I remember how the doctor in the village for my first homestay in Zimbabwe told me 1/3 of the babies there were being born positive. I just feel so sick.

I was reading an article, when Oprah was asked why not in the States. Apparently she did a lot of surveys asking school aged children what they wanted the most in life and many of the answers, were fancy shoes, money, toys etc. Apparently when she did it in Africa, all they wanted was clothes so they could attend school and get educations to make a difference.
I guess when you are trying to decide who gets the donation, you want to pick those that will put your money to the best use.
I try to teach my daughter that way, when she gets on her little my friend has this and this and this attitude, and try to have her think about the important things in life. But then again at the age of 11, the most important thing is your clothes and who the cutest boy in class is…ahh to be 11…

I saw the special and cried almost the whole time I was so moved this will affect the whole world for years to come.

There are many leadership organizations
not all specific to Girls/Women, but I am making what I can of my Eldest daughter
People to People Youth Leadership Forum organization
Created by Dwight D Eisenhower to teach the youth of this nation about this government and others
She has also gone to and through a couple Church charity organizations bringing help to communities that have needs, like education in India and Habitat for Humanity in Alaska Inuit community

Through her work over seas and around this little land of ours, her sisters are learning to work a Lot closer to home. We are living off the kids survvor benefits through Social Security, but we do everything we can to help others in need. Charity knitting, and babysitting for a discount to help a woman working her own buisness to support her family (and also Teaching her daughter english at the same time)

We Choose to live thin and do things like that and suport my Mother in her recovery than have me work and not be arund for my kids.