Madonna created the Raising Malawi Charity six years ago and now it’s set to break ground on the construction of schools in the impoverished country, but they will be run by the local community, not the superstar’s organization.
According to organizers, work on the first school will start on March 30 in the Kasungu area, about 80 miles from the capital of Lilongwe, and all of the schools should be built by June 2013. Raising Malawi is providing $300,000 to the non-governmental organization buildOn to develop the schools. They’ll serve about 1,000 boys and girls in the southern African nation.
“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,” Madonna said in a statement provided to The Associated Press.
Raising Malawi had originally intended to build all-girls schools that the organization would run. But it faced several obstacles in its goal, including complaints from some local farmers that they had been moved off land that Raising Malawi intended to use for its mission. Raising Malawi also had difficulty getting title to the land and there were concerns about the high costs of construction.
The new plan calls for “simple structures” that will be more practical and better serve Raising Malawi’s original mission, said Trevor Neilson, who is helping to direct the project as partner of the Global Philanthropy Group. The approach will allow the program to serve twice as many children as before, Madonna said.
“I have learned a great deal over the last few years and feel so much more confident that we can reach out goals to educate children in Malawi, especially young girls, in a much more efficient and practical way,” she said.
Madonna has adopted two children from Malawi.