Empowering women in finance

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Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah WinfreyOprah Winfrey is, beyond all doubt, one of the greatest philanthropists in the 21st century. When it comes to being benevolent and giving to charity, one person comes to mind: Oprah Winfrey.

She has donated millions of dollars to various charities and organizations, with most of her money going to three foundations: The Angel Network, The Oprah Winfrey Foundation, and The Oprah Winfrey Operating Foundation. The Oprah Winfrey Operating Foundation was initially created in 2007 to give money towards the Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa.

Oprah Winfrey was in South Africa in January this year to attend the first graduation of 72 students from her Leadership Academy for Girls. The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa opened in 2007 with 150 low-income seventh-and-eighth graders, the school now enrolls about 300. Both Oprah and Graca Machel (humanitarian and wife of Nelson Mandela) addressed the girls at the graduation. Mandela inspired Oprah to open the $40 million school in 2007. “The pride that I feel today is overpowering,” she told the students. "I have been on a mission my whole life to be able to give back what I have been given. Today I am fulfilling that mission. “This class will prove that when you invest in the leadership of girls, you invest in a nation.” To gain admission to the school, the girls had to be identified as high-caliber students from poor families and difficult pasts. They also had to complete an intense application process.

Oprah herself rose through to the top from a disadvantaged background in Mississippi. “I know that education is the door to freedom … So I want to do that for girls who come from backgrounds like my own, who have disadvantaged circumstances but no disadvantaged attitudes or brainpower or spirit. I want to give them the chance that I was give,” she said at the ceremony.


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