Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Hot Links: How to help
After last night's report on Oprah's school and educational disparities in South Africa, we got a lot of e-mails from people wondering what they can do to help. Here are a few suggestions:

To donate to the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy in South Africa, here's a link:

To donate internationally, go to UNICEF's Web site:

To help in the United States, you can contact the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation at its Web site or Teach for America, which sends teachers to the country's neediest schools:

And here is a link to a South African organization we featured in last night's show:

Posted By Chuck Hadad, CNN Producer: 9:35 AM ET
Thanks for the contact info.

I appreciate your balancing showing Oprah's program with the background information about the extraordinary problems caused by poverty and disease that show why this is so important in South Africa.

To all of those who criticize what Oprah is doing: Isn't a suffering kid a suffering kid, no matter where he or she is born? And how about all of the adults, many of whom go without so that their kids, grandkids, or younger siblings can eat?

Several people have written on the blog asking what those who complain about international charity have done themselves here at home, but, unless I have missed it, I haven't seen a response where anyone has written in saying what they have done other than to write into this blog and complain about the charity of others. So what have you done and what more can you do? What more can we all do? If we all did even a little bit (and some of us did even more), we could help erase poverty here in the US.

As someone who works with adult students who are low-wage earners or on public assistance, I certainly know, at least secondhand, about inner-city poverty in the US, and that is one of the main reasons I love working in education.
As Oprah has said numerous times, education really is the key to lifting oneself out of poverty.

For those of you who do want to do something to change the poverty/education stats here in the US, here are some ideas, in addition to what Mr. Hadad posted. And for those of us who care about kids worldwide, some of these can be reconfigured to help out internationally (just volunteer a little further away).

* Go to Oprah.com to see what the Angel Network and other programs have done to help Katrina survivors and others here. Donate to this or another cause, such as the work of the Children's Defense Fund or Teach for America.

* Get involved in your local schools, especially if you have kids who attend them. Find out what the issues are affecting your local public schools and get involved in fighting to make them better.

* Call your politicians and tell them it is time we spent way more on education (and, if you ask me, way less on invading other countries). Tell them to push for increased education funding. You can go to www.congress.org for contact information.

* Volunteer at a local organization working to help those less fortunate.
You can help at a soup kitchen, legal rights organization that focuses on low-income, job training program, program that recycles work outfits for those looking for jobs, after-school fitness program, tutoring/reading program, religious organization, health clinic, etc., etc., etc.

* Tell your reps to pass legislation expanding health care for the uninsured, raising the minimum wage, and education programs for job seekers.

* Get on the e-mail alert list of organizations whose causes are important to you and follow through when they send you alerts about upcoming legislation about which you should contact politicians There is also a nonpartisan alert on www.congress.org that will let you know all the important bills before the House, Senate, and your local legislature.

* Ask local and national media to cover education issues, ranging from the release of major reports on the progress--or lack thereof-- of our nation's students as well to alerting viewers/readers about upcoming bills in Congress or in your local legislature.

*Vote. If you have kids, take them with you when you vote and show them how important it is to vote. Research where politicians stand on the issues before you vote, and press them to clarify their stances with specific ideas about what they would do to make a difference.

You want change in the US? Then GET INVOLVED!

No, we may not all have Oprah's bank account, but that doesn't mean we can't do something here at home or halfway around the world.

Go Oprah! Go Oprah's students! Go all of our students, here and worldwide!
Posted By Anonymous Norah, West Chester, PA : 10:24 AM ET
Hello Chuck~
Thanks for the links to assist. I just got through clicking on them and making a donation. I appreciate the information informing us about this positive change and relief for the African people and giving us a chance to help also. At last there is some HOPE. These people have suffered in silence long enough. Thanks 360 bringing this to our attention and thus making a huge difference. Very COOL!
Posted By Anonymous Betty Ann, Nacogdoches TX : 2:24 PM ET
Oprah has really done a good job seting up that school in South Africaand it is sad that some people are criticizing her .I am a Ghanaian who has lived in Ghana all my life and if most of you could come down here and see the conditions some of us live in you would be quick to praise Oprah for what she has done. In Africa children of people living with AIDS are shunned by the community,have difficulty finding good schools and are even sometimes diswoned by their extended families.Oprah with all her money thought it wise to help the poor out and some of you who wake up to three square meals a day are criticizing her.Please
Posted By Anonymous raymond, accra,ghana : 7:43 PM ET
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