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Old 02-27-2007, 10:12 AM   #1
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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
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Old 02-27-2007, 11:32 AM   #2
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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. 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.

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Old 02-27-2007, 12:00 PM   #3
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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.
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Old 02-27-2007, 12:12 PM   #4
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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

THREE CHEERS FOR OPRAH!!!
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Old 02-27-2007, 12:45 PM   #5
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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!!
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Old 02-27-2007, 01:11 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by msoebel

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. I think that is so stupid.
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.
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Old 02-27-2007, 01:26 PM   #7
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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!
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Old 02-27-2007, 02:17 PM   #8
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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?"
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Old 02-27-2007, 02:28 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by feministmama
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?"
Exactly!!!
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Old 02-27-2007, 02:30 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by nuknitter
Who can name one current female African leader??
Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is the president of Liberia

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. Just a thought...
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