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Oprah sees herself in SA school girls

2011-09-13 07:14
 
Cape Town – "It's like looking into the face of who I used to be, and now seeing what they can become. Investing in a girl is the best thing I think that you can do," said Oprah Winfrey in her hour-long Facebook interview with Sheryl Sandberg, COO of the social network.

Winfrey said people who want to help and who want to be of service to others can easily feel "overwhelmed" but "should not be confused by the voices of the world telling you what you're supposed to do.

"Focus on what you are able to do and give," she said.

In her new interview Winfrey spoke at length to a global audience about her South African school, the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls and talked about how investing in a girl changes communities.

PHOTOS: Oprah through the years

"Investing in a girl changes not the face of one person, but at least five people. And if that girl goes into her community, you've affected an entire community," she explained as the reason why she started her school and wanted to do it in South Africa.

"I have 400 girls at my Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa. The first graduating class will be at the end of this year. I'm so proud of my daughters. They call me 'Mom Oprah'. The first class and the second class – I actually went out and handpicked every one of those girls, going village to village and province after province. I know this whether you're a government or just a person: when you invest in a girl, you change a community," Winfrey said.

Education is key

"When you invest in a girl, a girl – unlike boys; not to disparate men – girls are far more likely in every study ever been done, if a woman or girl is educated she is going to educate her children. If she's educated she's far more likely to have fewer children, she's more likely to use protection, she's more likely to take care of herself and her children. She's going to take what she's learnt and share that with her entire community."

Winfrey said "people get very overwhelmed. The way of being of service is answering the call for yourself: What is it that you want to do and what is it that you want to give? Not to be confused by the voices of the world telling you what you're supposed to do.

"If you are going to try and help Africa for example, you can become completely overwhelmed. You don't know where to begin; there never is an end to all the help that you can do. Focus on what you can do. For me it was education. I knew as a coloured girl - now African-American – that without an education I wouldn't be who I am.

"I wanted to give back what I've been given. I advise other people to do what relates to you. Do what stimulates you. Giving to girls is what stimulates me.

"It's like looking into the face of who I used to be and now seeing what they can become. Investing in a girl is the best thing I think that you can do," she said.

Thinus Ferreira is a TV media expert. Read his blog here.

- Channel24

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