Tag Archives: Oprah Winfrey

Day 345

No matter how flat you make a pancake, it has two sides. – Dr. Phil C. McGraw

It’s 7: 17 PM on day 345 of my journey towards independence and I’ve managed to brush my teeth,  tweet about my Clean Water For All Campaign – no luck today but Marianne Worley made a donation yesterday after I went to bed  – thanks again Marianne really appreciate it 🙂 – feed myself an avocado sandwich for breakfast,  watch TV, feed myself oranges  for dinner, brush my teeth once more and reply to a few comments on this blog.

As you know I detest celebrity who use their influence for self-enrichment and nothing else but today just for a change I am going to introduce you to some celebrities who are worthy of your admiration primarily because they extend themselves in service of the world in the hopes that it will show people of my generation that they do have alternatives that they don’t have to drink, smoke, do drugs or have sex to be cool. Take a look:

Philanthropic Celebrities: People we will remember long after their out of the limelight

Oprah Winfrey

In 1998, Winfrey created the Oprah’s Angel Network, a charity that supported charitable projects and provided grants to nonprofit organizations around the world. Oprah’s Angel Network raised more than $80,000,000 ($1 million of which was donated by Jon Bon Jovi). Winfrey personally covered all administrative costs associated with the charity, so 100% of all funds raised went to charity programs. The charity stopped accepting donations in May 2010 and was later dissolved.[158][159] Winfrey’s show raises money through promotion of her public charity and she personally donates more of her own money to charity than any other performer in America.[160] In 2005 she became the first black person listed by Business Week as one of America’s 50 most generous philanthropists, having given an estimated $303 million as of 2007.[160] Winfrey was the 32nd most philanthropic. She has also been repeatedly ranked as the most philanthropic celebrity.[161]

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Oprah created the Oprah Angel Network Katrina registry which raised more than $11 million for relief efforts. Winfrey personally gave $10 million to the cause.[162] Homes were built in Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama before the one year anniversary of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.[163] Winfrey has also helped 250 African-American men continue or complete their education at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia.[164] Winfrey was the recipient of the first Bob Hope Humanitarian Award at the 2002 Emmy Awards for services to television and film. To celebrate two decades on national TV, and to thank her employees for their hard work, Winfrey took her staff and their families (1065 people in total) on vacation to Hawaii in the summer of 2006.[165]

South Africa

In 2004, Winfrey and her team filmed an episode of her show, Oprah’s Christmas Kindness , in which Winfrey travelled to South Africa to bring attention to the plight of young children affected by poverty and AIDS. During the 21-day trip, Winfrey and her crew visited schools and orphanages in poverty-stricken areas, and distributed Christmas presents to 50,000 children,[166] with dolls for the girls and soccer balls for the boys, and school supplies. Throughout the show, Winfrey appealed to viewers to donate money to Oprah’s Angel Network for poor and AIDS-affected children in Africa. From that show alone, viewers around the world donated over $7,000,000. Winfrey invested $40 million and some of her time establishing the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in Henley on Klip south of Johannesburg, South Africa. The school set over 22 acres, opened in January 2007 with an enrollment of 150 pupils (increasing to 450) and features state-of-the-art classrooms, computer and science laboratories, a library, theatre and beauty salon. Nelson Mandela praised Winfrey for overcoming her own disadvantaged youth to become a benefactor for others. A minority of critics considered the school elitist and unnecessarily luxurious.[167]

Winfrey, who has no surviving biological children, described maternal feelings towards the girls at Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls:[168][169] Winfrey teaches a class at the school via satellite.[168]

Angelina Jolie

Jolie first became personally aware of worldwide humanitarian crises while filming Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) in Cambodia. She contacted UNHCR for information on international trouble spots.[59] To learn more about the conditions in these areas, Jolie began visiting refugee camps around the world. In February 2001, she went on her first field visit, an 18-day mission to Sierra Leone and Tanzania; she later expressed her shock at what she had witnessed.[59] In the following months, she returned to Cambodia and met with Afghan refugees in Pakistan, where she donated $1 million in response to an international UNHCR emergency appeal.[60] She insisted on covering all costs related to her missions and shared the same rudimentary working and living conditions as UNHCR field staff on all of her visits.[59] Jolie was named a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador at UNHCR headquarters in Geneva on August 27, 2001.[61]

Since then, Jolie has been on field missions around the world and met with refugees and internally displaced persons in more than 20 countries.[62] Asked what she hoped to accomplish, she stated, “Awareness of the plight of these people. I think they should be commended for what they have survived, not looked down upon.”[63] Jolie aims to visit what she terms “forgotten emergencies,” crises that media attention has shifted away from.[64] She is noted for not shying away from visiting areas that are currently at war:[65] she visited displaced families in the Darfur region of Sudan during the Darfur conflict in 2004; she met with Sudanese refugees in neighboring Chad during its civil war in 2007; she visited displaced people as well as US troops and other multi-national forces in Iraq during the Second Gulf War in 2007 and 2009; and she met with internally displaced people in Afghanistan during the ongoing war in 2008 and 2011.

In addition to her field missions, Jolie uses her public profile to promote humanitarian causes through the mass media. Her early field visits were chronicled in her book Notes from My Travels, which was published in conjunction with the release of her film Beyond Borders (2003). She filmed a 2005 MTV special, The Diary Of Angelina Jolie & Dr. Jeffrey Sachs in Africa, portraying her and noted economist Dr. Jeffrey Sachs on a trip to a remote group of villages in Western Kenya. Jolie has also regularly released public service announcements promoting World Refugee Day and other causes.

Over time, Jolie became more involved in promoting humanitarian causes on a political level. She has regularly attended World Refugee Day in Washington, D.C., and she was an invited speaker at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2005 and 2006. She also began lobbying humanitarian interests in the U.S. capital, where she met with members of Congress at least 20 times between 2003 and 2006, during which she pushed for several bills to aid refugees and vulnerable children in the Third World and the United States.[61] She explained in Forbes, “As much as I would love to never have to visit Washington, that’s the way to move the ball.”[61] In 2007, she became a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.[66] Jolie has met with high-ranking officials during several of her field missions: while visiting Afghan refugees in Pakistan in 2005, she met with President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz; during her visit to Haiti in 2010, she discussed the future of earthquake relief efforts with Haitian officials, including President René Préval; and while visiting displaced victims of the Bosnian War in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 2010, she met with Presidency members Haris Silajdžić and Željko Komšić.

Jolie has established several charitable organizations. In 2003, she founded the Maddox Jolie Project—renamed the Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation in 2007—which is dedicated to eradicating extreme rural poverty, protecting natural resources, and conserving wildlife in Cambodia’s northwestern province of Battambang, the birthplace of her son Maddox.[67] In 2006, she partnered with Global Health Committee director Dr. Anne Goldfeld to establish the Maddox Chivan Children’s Center, a daycare facility for children afflicted and affected by HIV in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh.[68] That same year, she and partner Brad Pitt announced the founding of the Jolie-Pitt Foundation, which made initial donations to Global Action for Children and Doctors Without Borders of $1 million each.[69] Jolie co-chairs the Education Partnership for Children of Conflict, which she co-founded with noted economist Dr. Gene Sperling in 2007; the partnership funds education programs for children affected by conflict.[70] In 2008, she founded Kids in Need of Defense, which provides free legal-aid to unaccompanied asylum-seeking children with no legal representation.[71]

Jolie has received wide recognition for her humanitarian work. In 2003, she was the first recipient of the Citizen of the World Award by the United Nations Correspondents Association, and in 2005, she was awarded the Global Humanitarian Award by the UNA-USA.[72] Cambodia’s King Norodom Sihamoni awarded Jolie Cambodian citizenship for her conservation work in the country on July 31, 2005.[73] In 2007, Jolie received the Freedom Award by the International Rescue Committee.[74]

Alyssa Milano

Milano was appointed Founding Ambassador for the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases, to which she donated $250,000. The Global Network is an alliance formed to advocate and mobilize resources in the fight to control neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). Milano will work to raise awareness of NTDs by educating the mainstream media and general public of the plight faced by the one billion people who are afflicted by NTDs, and the importance in controlling and preventing this global health crisis.

Milano is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for the United States. She traveled to India, Kosovo, as well as Angola, to work with UNICEF field officers there. In the fall of 2004, she participated in UNICEF’s “Trick or Treat” campaign as an official spokesperson. She raised approximately $50,000 for South African women and children with AIDS by selling own and school’s photo work. In the late 1980s, she appeared on Phil Donahue‘s talk show where she kissed Ryan White, a schoolboy ostracised for having AIDS, to show that she would not catch it from him.[18]

In support of PETA, she appeared in an advertisement for them, advocating vegetarianism, in a dress made entirely of vegetables.[19]

In honor of her 37th birthday (December 19, 2009), Milano ran an online fundraising campaign for Charity:Water. Her original goal was to raise $25,000, but a donation from her husband put her over the $75,000 mark on December 18. The fundraiser was scheduled to run until December 26.[citation needed]

Selena Gomez

Gomez was involved in the UR Votes Count campaign which encouraged teenagers to learn more about 2008 presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain.[43] In October 2008, Gomez participated in St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital “Runway For Life” benefit.[44] Gomez is a spokesperson for Borden Milk; she is featured in the campaign’s print and television ads.[45] She is the ambassador of DoSomething.org after being involved with the charity Island Dog, which help dogs in Puerto Rico.[46] She got involved while filming Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie in Puerto Rico.[47] Gomez is a spokesperson for State Farm Insurance, and is featured in their TV commercials; which air on the Disney Channel, to raise awareness of being a safe driver.[48] Gomez is also involved with the charity RAISE Hope For Congo, an initiative of the Enough Project, which helps raise awareness about conflict minerals and violence against Congolese women.[49]

In October 2008, Gomez was named UNICEF‘s spokesperson for the Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF campaign, which encouraged children to raise money on Halloween to help children around the world.[4] She said that she was “extremely excited” to “encourage other kids to make a difference in the world.”[4]

In August 2009, a 17-year-old Gomez became the youngest UNICEF ambassador ever, passing fellow songstress Hayley Westenra, who was 18 when she was chosen. In her first official field mission, Gomez traveled to Ghana on September 4, 2009 for a week to witness first-hand the stark conditions of vulnerable children that lack vital necessities including clean water, nourishment, education and healthcare.[50][51] Gomez explained during an interview with Associated Press that she wanted to use her star power to bring awareness to Ghana: “That’s why I feel very honored to have a voice that kids listen to and take into consideration […] I had people on my tour asking me where IS Ghana, and they Googled it […] and because I went there, they now know where Ghana is. So it’s pretty incredible.”[51][52] Gomez said of her role as ambassador that: “Every day 25,000 children die from preventable causes. I stand with UNICEF in the belief that we can change that number from 25,000 to zero. I know we can achieve this because every moment, UNICEF is on the ground providing children with the lifesaving assistance needed to ensure zero becomes a reality.”[50]

Gomez was named spokesperson for UNICEF‘s 2009 Trick-or-Treat campaign, for the second year in a row.[53] Gomez, who raised over $700,000 for the charity in 2008, stated that she hopes to be able to raise 1 million dollars in 2009.[51] Gomez participated in a celebrity auction[54] and hosted a live web cast series on Facebook in support of the Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF campaign.[55] Gomez returned as the UNICEF spokesperson for the 60th anniversary of Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF campaign in 2010.[56] In celebration of the 60th anniversary, Gomez and her band, The Scene, held a benefit concert donating all proceeds to the campaign.[57]

In February 2011, Gomez traveled to Chile to witness and meet with the families of UNICEF‘s supported program, “Programa Puente” which helps families better understand and develops skills to deal effectively with early childhood education, development and other issues related to raising children. From her field trip experience, Gomez said “UNICEF is helping Chilean families get out of poverty, prevent violence within the home and promote education. To witness first hand these families’ struggles, and also their hope and perseverance, was truly inspiring.”[58] In March 2011, Gomez participated in the UNICEF Tap Project‘s “Celebrity Tap Pack,” limited-edition, custom-made water bottles featuring tap water from the homes of each celebrity advocate, in order to raise funds and increase profile for the clean water and sanitation programs.[59] She is also featured in videos promoting the campaign.[60][61]

Gomez is involved in Disney’s Friends for Change, an organization which promotes “environmently-friendly behavior”, and appears in its public service announcements.[62] Gomez, Demi Lovato, Miley Cyrus, and the Jonas Brothers recorded “Send It On“, a charity single with all of its proceeds to the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund.[63][64] It debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at number 20.[63] Also in 2009, Gomez made a surprise visit to a Los Angeles elementary school as part of the “A Day Made Better” program that was sponsored by OfficeMax. During her visit, Gomez gave the school an award and $1,000 worth of school supplies, and talked to students about the importance of giving back to the community.[65][66]

Gomez is also the owner of five rescue dogs and describes herself as a “huge animal-lover”.[67]

(Note: All the stories above are courtesy of Wikipedia)

Are we connecting on Twitter? If not, say hi at http://twitter.com/Nisha360

If you’ve given to my cause or you can’t give now, please help me by sharing my cause with others. You can tweet about it like my friend Stan Faryna. This is the tweet he uses: @Nisha360 is a brave, smart young woman trying to make a better world for us all. Please help her do an amazing thing. http://bit.ly/hC7vOu

Stan’s very sweet for saying so, but feel free to write what reflects you best.

Thanks to all my friends out there who are helping me make my dream come true: to make a better world for all of us!

Day 304

Famous has become a synonym for hero – that’s what I learned today 🙁

It’s 9: 05 PM on day 304 of my journey towards independence and I’ve managed to brush my teeth, watch TV, feed myself Batura and potato curry for breakfast, listen to music feed myself tapioca dipped in chutney for lunch, watch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 at the Hemingways Mall – it was truly the end of an era when the credits rolled and faded to black it occurred to me that there would never be another Harry Potter movie ever again – go visit my cousin, brush my teeth once more, tweet about my Clean Water For All Campaign – no luck – and watch The Oprah Winfrey Show Finale in primetime – good bye Oprah thank you SO much for all you’ve taught me from my daily routine of keeping a gratitude journal to my love of service you’ve molded me into the woman I always knew I was meant to be and for that I will be eternally grateful 🙂

Yesterday I logged onto MSN with the intention of checking my mail when an article entitled Emma’s Fashion Magic – detailing the history of Emma Watson’s fashion choices – caught my eye and as I was reading it I realized that the media took ordinary people and portrayed them as heroes thus confusing the world’s population as to what a hero really is with that said I would like to tell you what I believe makes someone a hero you are a hero if you walk the elderly across the street, you are hero if you feed the homeless in your community, you are a hero if you take in a stray dog that has nowhere else to go, you are hero if you offer to babysit for free for a single mom who is overworked and underappreciated in short you are a hero if you extended yourself in service of the world. If you had to choose between fame and heroism would your choice be easy?

Are we connecting on Twitter? If not, say hi at http://twitter.com/Nisha360

If you’ve given to my cause or you can’t give now, please help me by sharing my cause with others. You can tweet about it like my friend Stan Faryna. This is the tweet he uses: @Nisha360 is a brave, smart young woman trying to make a better world for us all. Please help her do an amazing thing. http://bit.ly/hC7vOu

Stan’s very sweet for saying so, but feel free to write what reflects you best.

Thanks to all my friends out there who are helping me make my dream come true: to make a better world for all of us!

Day 247

A good teacher is like a candle – it consumes itself to light the way for others. – Author Unknown

It’s 7: 31 PM on day 247 of my journey towards independence and I’ve managed to brush my teeth, feed myself bread and scrambled eggs for breakfast, drink a cup of coffee, tweet about my Clean Water For All Campaign –no luck – feed myself rice and curry for lunch, tweet about my campaign some more –still no luck :(– continue reading A Purloined Life – the first of two books in Stella Cameron‘s Charmed watch TV and brush my teeth once more.

As you may or may not know after twenty-five years on air The Oprah Winfrey Show is coming to a close and in honour of that I would like to share with you some of the lessons I’ve learned from the most powerful woman in the world. Take a look:

5 Pearls of Wisdom That Oprah Winfrey Has Passed Onto Me

  1. You can change your reality by shifting your perception.
  2. Everything that you seek from others you have to give yourself first.
  3. Nobody has the power to complete you but you.
  4. True fulfilment is achieved by giving rather than consuming.
  5. Everybody wants to feel heard and understood.

Are we connecting on Twitter? If not, say hi at http://www.twitter.com/nisha360

if you’ve given to my cause or you can’t give now, please help me by sharing my cause with others. You can tweet about it like my friend Stan Faryna. This is the tweet he uses: @Nisha360 is a brave, smart young woman trying to make a better world for us all. Please help her do an amazing thing. http://bit.ly/hC7vOu

Stan’s very sweet for saying so, but feel free to write what reflects you best.

Thanks to all my friends out there who are helping me make my dream come true: to make a better world for all of us!

Day 193

If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants. – Sir. Isaac Newton

It’s 11: 35 PM on day 193 of my journey towards independence and I’ve managed to brush my teeth, cut my birthday cake (see pictures below) and feed it to myself while watching the Cricket World Cup match: South Africa vs. New Zealand–we lost and are out of the world cup and of course it stings a little but in the bigger scheme of things it’s just a game … people are dying in Japan – and tweet about my Clean Water For All Campaign for a few hours – someone who prefers to remain anonymous donated $54.92 – both you and I know who you are thank you for your donation 🙂  

Today being my birthday and all I would like to dedicate this post to:

  • My mother who does things for me that nobody else would do


  • My father who has taught me everything I need to know about myself to survive in this world


  • My siblings who never complain even when my parents give me more attention just because I am on a wheelchair


  • My extended family who show me every day that I am not in this alone


  • Virginia – our late housekeeper – who has taught me how to love unconditionally


  • Gerda – my physiotherapist – who expects me to go out and do great things in spite of my disability


  • Nelson Mandela who has taught me courage of conviction


  • Oprah who has taught me that you receive more when you give    


The cake

The cake out of the box


Me cutting the cake (my eyes appear closed because I am looking down at the cake)

Day 183

If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together.. there is something you must always remember. you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. but the most important thing is, even if we’re apart.. I’ll always be with you. – Winnie the Pooh  

It’s 9: 04  PM on day 183 of my journey towards independence and I’ve managed to brush my teeth, feed myself a grilled cheese sandwich for breakfast while watching the Cricket World Cup match: South Africa vs. Ireland – congratulations to The Proteas – our national cricket team – who are officially in the quarterfinals after their victory over Ireland – bring the cup back for Mr. Mandela boys I am sure he’s rooting for you 🙂 –  tweet about my Clean Water For All Campaign for a few hours – no luck –  feed myself rice and curry for lunch, tweet about my campaign some more –    no luck –   feed myself Chapati – an unleavened flatbread – and vegetable curry  for dinner and continue to tweet about my campaign – still no luck – I’m disappointed but it’s okay I’ll keep trying 🙂

Today I was feeling all kinds of awful my body was sore, my muscles were aching and all I wanted to do was sleep but then I remembered what Will Smith said on Oprah great people do what they do hurt and suddenly I didn’t feel so tired anymore because I could see in my mind’s eye images of children dying of cholera. On a bad day do you give up on yourself or look to harness your inner strength?

Who I Am

My name is Nisha, I am a twenty-three-year-old from South Africa and this is the story of how I became who I am. WARNING: My life has more twists in it than a rollercoaster.

At six months I was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy (CP) – an umbrella term encompassing a group of non-progressive, non-contagious motor conditions that cause physical disability in human development, chiefly in the various areas of body movement. As a result of having Cerebral Palsy I am unable to walk and my right-arm has reduced functionality. Growing up I used to watch other kids playing on the playground I used to be so envious and as I grew so did my anger towards God.

When I was 13 I was diagnosed with advanced Scoliosis – a medical condition in which a person’s spine is curved from side to side – and within weeks I was on the operating table undergoing surgery in which a metal rod was placed between my vertebrae to keep them from fusing together and was subsequently bedridden for a year after that. As you can imagine being bedridden wasn’t exactly fun – I got into a mini-depression and put on a bit of weight – until a family friend of ours – who is now passed on God bless his heart – came to visit and told me I looked a little ‘plumpy’ – at first I was really hurt and then I took a good look in the mirror and realized that there might have been some truth in what he was saying and I made some changes in my life.

The year flew by in the blink of an eye and it was time for me to go back to school. I went for about a week before I realized that my body was never going to be as it was before the surgery – just sitting in class for eight hours was difficult –  so my parents pulled me out of the public school system and made alternative arrangements.

At that point in my life everything was going according to plan school was going great and everybody was healthy and ‘happy’ but, I still felt as though something was missing – like everything in my life was mediocre. I had no clue what I wanted but, I did know that I did not want to lead a mediocre life. A few weeks after I had had this profound realization I was watching The Oprah Winfrey Show – as I always did – but this particular episode featured a young woman by the name of Kendall Ciesemier -one day after watching an Oprah Winfrey special: on the AIDS epidemic in Africa she took all the money that she had, put it in and envelope and sent to WorldVision to ‘adopt’ an orphan and in 2007 Kendall founded an organization called Kids Caring 4 Kids – an organization which aims to raise awareness and money for AIDS orphans and other highly venerable kids in Africa and to inspire kids to care for others in need. My mouth literally fell open when I heard Kendall’s story but, after watching the show I switched off the TV and went on with my normal life convinced that I could never do something so spectacular.

A few weeks later, I found myself laying on my bed crying because my back was hurting and all my muscles were stiff I remember asking God: Do you love me? Do you hate me? Do you even know I exist? Why me? A gentle voice replied: Why not you? That was like a slap in the face because I always thought that God had it in for me and that response made me realize that the world didn’t revolve around me. I paused for a moment before I asked: Why am I here? The gentle voice again replied: To show the world that anybody can make a difference and change the world. I remember thinking to myself: I can’t even go the bathroom by myself how in the hell does he expect me to change the world and then as if on cue I had a flashback to Kendall’s story and what Oprah said to one of her other guest’s once Kendall left the stage: Kendall is proof of what people can do from their hospital beds even – Kendall had just undergone a liver transplant and she asked her visitors to ‘adopt’ an orphan instead of bringing her flowers and candy. Watching that show and hearing Kendall’s story taught me that to change your reality all you have to do is shift your perception and that is something I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

A few months later I tried to raise $1 000 for a well -known organization called UNICEF – long story short I only raised $5 for the most part because I was naive an didn’t know what the hell I was doing. However, that experience did teach me what not to do and on March 5th 2010 I started my Clean Water for All Campaign. The objectives of the campaign are as follows:

  • To raise $6 500 for The Water Project, Inc – an organization that provides clean water to communities all over the world who suffer needlessly without it – by March 5th 2012 and  build a well somewhere in the  world.
  • To highlight the plight of those who don’t have easy access to clean water.
  • To prove to the world that anybody can make a difference and change the world – even me: a nineteen-year-old girl in a wheelchair.

(Update: I raised $7 862 – enough money to build a hand pumped well in Kenya (the well is now complete see pictures of it here: http://thewaterproject.org/community/projects/kenya/new-well-in-kenya-485) –  raised sufficient awareness and showed the world – through the internet – that anyone can make a difference).