Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Of course I have an opinion

"More than 3,500 girls applied for 152 spots—that's a 4 percent acceptance rate. (Harvard accepts about 9 percent.) Oprah interviewed all of the 500 finalists herself, though the students weren't told they'd be meeting her."

"I wanted to take girls with that 'It' quality, and give them an opportunity to make a difference in the world."

I understand her heart and her desire to make a difference. Really. I do.

But I wonder why she doesn't seem to understand what it means to those she deems as not having "it?" 3348 girls are left to feel the harsh sting of poverty and poor education while 152 of their sisters enjoy yoga and theater performances?

"The country is very obviously poor, and so few children have a chance at education," says one South African school official who asked not to be identified because he didn't want to offend Oprah. "It is hard not to see that many feel that what Ms. Winfrey is doing is too much."

I disagree. She is not doing enough, in my opinion. More opportunities should have been offered, instead of "oversize rooms done in tasteful beiges and browns with splashes of color, 200-thread-count sheets, a yoga studio, a beauty salon, indoor and outdoor theaters, hundreds of pieces of original tribal art and sidewalks speckled with colorful tiles."

I'm not saying the quality of the education should suffer. I'm saying that I doubt those other 3348 girls would turn down the chance to attend school because the sheets were only 100-thread count and there were no facials offered.

(Insert your own snarky comment about elitism here.)

MSNBC story


Anonymous said...

And just out of curiosity, what will these 150+ girls do with their education? Will they have the material resources necessary to find a job outside of the country since S.A. probably isn't booming in the equal opportunity market when it comes to women.

Anonymous said...

I understand her goal, but $40 million would build a lot of decent buildings, and pay for a lot of uniforms for more African children.
The road to hell really is paved with rich people's poorly thought out intentions, isn't it?
Here in Canada, it wouldn't cost that much to rebuild UCC from scratch. And that's a boys boarding school with 1500 students and the best facilities on earth.
WTF did she spend all that money on? Gold toilets?
There is a happy medium in between a palace and a "chicken coop", as she describes the alternative building plan.

V said...

As a South African myself, I agree that it is admirable that she is attempting to do something for the poor in our country, but I totally agree that it would be much better to give half as much to twice as many. The more people who can be lifted out of poverty and given a decent education the better. But why restrict it to girls? Although I must say that women are being given a lot more opportunities in business now than ever before especially if they are deemed 'previously disadvantaged'.

Anonymous said...

I don't know...it does seem a little extravagant, but there are worse extravagances. Oprah does do a lot of other charity work and i understand why she would want to be more involved, make a 'pet project' of a sort. If this was her only charity work, and she spent it this way, i would be more critical -- but since i am under the impression that she gives alot in other areas, i can't help but think this is kind of sweet. I hope, though, that she has hired the right people to run the place, and has given due thought to DD's very relevant concerns...