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Sunday, January 7, 2007

Oprah Backlash?



We all know that Oprah Winfrey used $40 million of her own money to launch a school for poor South African girls and that on the following day Gordon Brown re-iterated his promise of $15 billion of aid, pledging to make universal primary education a key foreign policy goal (mimimagazine.blogspot.com/2007/01/oprahs-gift-to-south-africas-girls.html). However, it seems as though Oprah's and Gordon's philanthropy is not being well received by everyone. In a press release by ActionAid International, David Archer, Head of Education at ActionAid International said in part:

“Both these interventions should be welcomed for the attention they bring to education, especially to the education of girls, but Oprah and Gordon could be doing so much more ...
Only 150 hand-picked girls from poor households will enroll in Oprah’s boarding school. This number may rise to 400 and there’s no doubt they’ll receive an excellent education and some will emerge as future leaders. But there are over 40 million girls who have never been inside a classroom ... Oprah’s $40 million could have benefited many more girls by challenging discrimination and violence and by improving the quality and accountability of existing schools. Creating a new elite will be less effective than improving the system for all girls."

For the full press release, visit www.actionaid.org/index.asp?page_id=1530

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have a BIG problem with the negative comments by Action Aid. Oprah is a PRIVATE individual from AMERICA. She is not the South African government. The vast majority of American celebrities don't even think to use their money to do anything good, and if they do, they focus on America. The fact that Oprah chose to go to South Africa and help some girls is a huge deal. She could have used her money to buy more designer clothes, a bigger house ... whatever! This kind of negativity deserves no attention!

Anonymous said...

If you're trying to help others, then isn't it best to do so in a way that is the most effective and efficient? Many children can't even afford something as simple as pencils for school. I would much rather have seen that money even out the playing field for many, rather than go overboard for a few. Luxury is simply something that we can't be thinking about just yet. Let's start with basics.

Anonymous said...

this is yet another case of the media going crazy because a celebrity has done something in africa. first if was angelina jolie adopting her ethiopian babie, then madonna adopting her malawian babie, and now oprah opening a school. it's always the same story, just a different cast. so long as it is some easily recognized name doing somthing in africa, we can't stop talking about it. no one ever acknowledges all the good deeds that are being done by individuals who aren't famous. i'm moving on!

Anonymous said...

I find it insulting that Oprah is being challenged for donating HER own money in the way that SHE sees fit. Each person has to play a role in improving our national and global society. We should limit the judging of others and focus on what our contribution to the world should be.

I'm sure Action Aid would have loved to have been the recipient of the $40 million dollars, but I'm not sure that donating to international development organizations is always a good idea. As someone who has worked in this field, I saw a lot of money go to administrative costs and into projects that would impress the donors rather than on the needs of the people.

I think that spreading the money over a larger population dilutes Oprah's vision for HER academy and how she views the direction of education for these girls. When you decide to contribute your time and money to your cause, would you want someone telling you how to donate it?

Anonymous said...

Oprah owes doesn't owe anything to anybody. Neither does Madonna nor Angelina Jolie. People will always find something to complain about. These celebrities might as well spend their money any way they see fit because they are damned if they do and damned if they don't.

Anonymous said...

I am very happy that Oprah has created an elite school. She is taking the best and most promising young girls in South Africa, and letting them fully realize their potential. I for one think that even if circumstances are not that bright for most Africans, it is important that we too have something special, like this school. What is the alternative? Creating a bunch of average students who never realize their potential? Anyone, when presented with the opportunity to live a better life would chose to do so. These young women who have the privilege of attending Oprah's school will be tomorrow's leaders and will make contributions to South Africa's society that are immeasurable. Kudos Oprah and God speed to these girls who will be tomorrow's leaders.

Anonymous said...

i can't help but think that people who are unhappy with oprah's work are unhappy because they think it is too much for africans, and for that matter girls. i'm sick and tired of people expecting the worst for africans and for that matter african women.

anita said...

kudos to Oprah is all i can say. its her money and she can do whatever she wants with it. for her to help young unfortunate girls who will otherwise not end up anywhere get somewhere is a blessing to her and those girls