Oprah’s Academy celebrates 1st graduates

Since her world famous chat show came to an end, Oprah Winfrey has had time to place further focus on her humanitarian work.

This week she has taken a trip to South Africa, to visit the school for girls she founded in 2007.
The 57-year-old met with the first graduating students of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls to celebrate their success.
She was seen laughing, joking and dancing with the young women, who have affectionately dubbed their founder Mam Oprah, at the $40million academy in Henley on Klip.
And Oprah has made no apologies for spending her millions on building the elite school, where she apparently teaches a class via satellite.
The TV star is determined to continue to change the course of history for females across South Africa.
She spoke on the eve of the graduation ceremony for 72 girls about the ways in which she hopes to help more struggling young women.
She said: ‘We’re taking a victory lap here, for transformation.
‘Every single girl is going to leave here with something greater to offer the world than her body.’
Her graduating students are all headed to universities across South Africa and the united States, undergoing courses in various subjects including medicine, law, engineering and economics.
When she founded the school, Oprah’s aim was to ‘just change one girl, affect one person’s life.’
However she is continuously adapting the practices used at the academy in order to improve results.
She added: ‘It takes a lot of support, it takes a whole team’.
And despite her incredible success, Oprah says she is cut out for the job because she hasn’t forgotten her roots.
She 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.’
While the venture has proved rewarding and fruitful, it has not always been an easy ride for founder Oprah.
Shortly after the school was opened, a dormitory matron was accused of abusing teenagers.
The former chat show host, who has spoken out about being abused as a child, said she was ‘profoundly’ disappointed when the woman was acquitted in 2010.
Oprah also had to settle a lawsuit filed by the school’s former headmistress, Nomvuyo Mzamane, who claimed Oprah defamed her in remarks made regarding the scandal.
Despite difficulties, Oprah’s work for the school has been praised, particularly her efforts to encourage the students in humanitarian ways.
The charitable girls have lectured in their communities about AIDS and run breast cancer awareness campaigns in a bid to give back to those in need.



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