Let No Good Deed Go Unpunished -- Oprah and the Girls

Oprah.jpg With the opening of Oprah's new girls' school in Africa's Henly-on-Kip, we are reminded that no matter how you choose to share your riches, somebody is going to complain. According to Newsweek:

Winfrey has spent five years and $40 million building the school to her own Oprahlicious specifications-did we mention the huge fireplaces in every building? The talk-show diva always does things in grand style, of course. But $40 million for a school for impoverished girls in Africa does seem a bit, well, extravagant. In fact, the South African government had planned to build the school with her, but it pulled out amid reported criticism that the academy was too elitist and lavish for such a poor country. Oprah doesn't care.

Reminds me of the Manchester Craftsman's Guild/Bidwell Training Center, a national model homegrown in Pittsburgh,which is led by MacArthur "genius" Bill Strickland. Although I visited seven years ago, I still remember the correlation that Strickland established between his award-winning employment programs and the beauty of the training center which conveys to students a profound belief in their potential. Strickland's vision has grown to include a center for jazz performance, a grammy-producing record label, and a chem lab tech program through which graduates are consistently placed in career positions with companies such as Alcoa, Bayer, UPMC and NOVA Chemicals. In January, 2003, a new $4 million greenhouse where young people grow orchids and hydroponic tomatoes to train for careers in horticulture.

Orchids, Oprah...did you forget something?

Susan Herr

Posted at 7:42 AM, Jan 02, 2007 in Education | Permalink | Comments (1)


Oprah Winfrey built a school where before there was nothing - no school, no opportunity, no hope. Shame on the haters - let them make a billion dollars and build their own school. What Oprah has done, in one corner of the world, offers these girls what previously seemed unimaginable - lives worth living.

Posted by: Kathleen Fleck