The Door to Freedom
From the time he was 12 years old, Craig Kielburger has been fighting for the rights of children. Oprah's Angel Network teamed up with his organization, Free The Children, to help build schools around the world.
Oprah says, "Because of what reading and learning has done for me, I believe that education is the door to freedom, that it changes everything."
"There are 130 million children between the ages of five and 11 who don't have the opportunity to go to school. Many of them are girls, many of them in rural areas, especially in Africa," Craig says.
Instability in Sierra Leone
In Sierra Leone, 10 years of a bloody civil war have created a nation of orphans and amputees. Ruthless rebel armies have routinely cut off children's limbs, raped women, made children into slaves and forced children as young as 7 years old to become soldiers.
School Comes to Freetown
When the school that Oprah's Angel Network and Free The Children built in Sierra Leone was completed, it was the only school in the entire area. Hundreds of children lined up to attend school for the first time. To date, four schools have been completed and a fifth is on its way.
In Managua, Nicaragua, Oprah's Angel Network and Free The Children built seven schools. Now, 350 children can go to school, many for the very first time.
Two new schools in Mexico give children the opportunity to escape poverty through education.
Desperate for a Future
In Haiti, children grow up surrounded by violence and political unrest, but they are also desperate for an education. Children showed up by the hundreds when Oprah's Angel Network and Free The Children's school opened in a village called Dos Palais.
Forced to Work
In India, an estimated 20 million children are forced to work on the streets and in factories instead of getting a decent education. Some start working as young as 6 years old; many make as little as 50 cents a day.
Back to School
Now more than 1,000 children in India are attending the 10 schools Oprah's Angel Network built with Free The Children. One of those schools, outside of Calcutta, was built with help from 40 teenage volunteers who traveled to India to help lay the foundation.
A Modern New School
In China, Oprah's Angel Network and Free The Children built three schools in a rural village where a local barn doubled as a schoolhouse. A fourth school will be complete in the summer of 2007.
In many rural areas, boys are often valued more than girls. At the Angel Network schools in China, both boys and girls arrive early to receive an education.
Breaking the Poverty Cycle
The people of Ecuador are among the poorest in the world. Craig Kielburger says the new schools built there represent both hope and sacrifice. "These kids work to help support their families. In rural communities, parents depend on that meager income a child can earn. But these parents realize it's the only way they're going to break a cycle of illiteracy, break a cycle of poverty."
A Special Donation
Schools in Ecuador are in desperate need of textbooks and basic supplies. Oprah's Angel Network is donating another $20,000 to buy brand-new hardcover textbooks and school supplies for all the students in all three of the Oprah's Angel Network and Free The Children's Ecuadorian schools!