Reuters NewMedia - January 31, 2012
(Reuters) - Madonna on Monday announced plans to build 10 new
schools in Malawi with a new partner after mismanagement forced
the pop star to scrap her first project there last year.
The singer, who has adopted two children from the impoverished
southern African nation, said she hoped the 10 new schools would
educate at least 1,000 children a year, half of them girls.
That is double the number of children she hoped to help with her
previously planned academy for girls, which was scrapped in March
2011 because of mismanagement and cost overruns.
Madonna said her Raising Malawi charity was teaming up this time
with the non-profit group buildOn, which has constructed 54
primary schools in Malawi in the last 19 years.
"I am excited that with the help of buildOn, we can maintain our
ongoing commitment to move forward efficiently. We now will be
able to serve twice as many children as we would have served with
our old approach," Madonna said in a statement.
"I have learned a great deal over the last few years and feel
confident that we can reach our goals to educate children in
Malawi, especially young girls, in a much more practical way.
Constructing smaller schools in partnership with buildOn has
restored my faith that we can accomplish what we promised we
would," she added.
Madonna's earlier plan to build a state of the art girls school
for about 400 girls just outside the Malawi capital Lilongwe
collapsed last year, and the board of her Raising Malawi charity
was fired. The New York Times said at the time that $3.8 million
had been spent on the school with little to show for it.
The singer has lent $11 million to the organization which she
co-founded in 2006.
Malawi has more than half a million children orphaned by the AIDS
epidemic and is ranked by the United Nations as one of the
world's 20 least developed countries.
Madonna's plans for new schools came at the start of a busy week
for the singer, actress and director. Her new movie "W.E", which
she wrote and directed, opens in U.S. movie theaters on Friday,
she is performing at Sunday's halftime show at the 2012 Super
Bowl, and will release the first single from her upcoming new
album on Feb 3.
(Reporting By Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)