Monday, February 6, 2012

Celebs Who Inspire: The First Graduating Class from Oprah's South African Leadership Academy

Oprah's goal to "just to change one girl, affect one person's life" has been achieved through the first graduating class of her girls leadership academy in South Africa. 72 out of the original 75 girls have successfully graduated and are headed for university to pursue degrees in medicine, law, engineering and economics. All of the girls are from very poor and disadvantaged families in a country that is still ravaged by the effects of Apartheid.

Oprah poured in $USD 40 million of her own money into the academy. She helped the students and staff overcome issues of abuse, child pregnancy and more to reach the monumental achievement of the academy's first graduation. During their time at the school, these remarkable, South African young women benefited from world class teaching facilities and education. They were spared the life of poverty, racism and intense hardship that still seems to be forced upon South Africans even post Apartheid. Instead, Oprah handed them the keys to success and accomplishment. Something which Oprah acknowledged when she said;

 "Every single girl is going to leave here with something greater to offer the world than her body."

So what was the primary motivating factor that made Oprah go over and beyond for children that are not her own, with money that she worked hard to earn? Oprah simply said;

"I know what it's like to be a poor girl with your heart's desire to do well in the world ... I chose to use my philanthropy to do what I know."


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