Madonna in fresh Malawi school project after fiasco

2012-01-31 13:15

Madonna announced she has teamed up with an American charity to build schools in Malawi, reviving a project she had earlier dropped due to financial mismanagement and lawsuits.

“This remains a very big priority in my life and I am excited that with the help of buildOn we can maintain our ongoing commitment to move forward efficiently,” the US singer’s organisation Raising Malawi said in a statement issued yesterday.

BuildOn, a US-based organisation, has already built 54 primary schools in the poor southern African country.

In 2010, the singer, who has two adopted children from Malawi, laid a foundation stone to build an academy for girls in Chinkota village, outside the capital Lilongwe.

A year later the school project was cancelled because of mismanagement and local employees sacked.

Eight staff at the failed $15 million (about R117.1 million) Raising Malawi Academy for Girls (RMAG) filed suit in
March 2011, claiming they were let go without proper procedures.

“I have learned a great deal over the last few years and feel so much more confident that we can reach our goals to educate children in Malawi, especially young girls, in a much more efficient and practical way,” Madonna said.

Raising Malawi and buildOn plan to build 10 new schools with the capacity to educate at least 1 000 children per year, mostly girls.

“Constructing smaller schools in partnership with buildOn has restored my faith that we can accomplish what we promised we would,” Madonna said.

Madonna’s charity also supports child care centres in the country where nearly one million children are orphaned by AIDS.

The divorced singer faced controversy over her adoption of David Banda in 2006 and Mercy James in 2009 from Malawi orphanages, with rights groups claiming she received special treatment from officials.

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