Since its inception six years ago, Madonna’s Raising Malawi charity has struggled to build schools in the African nation. But now, Madonna’s vision for education will finally be brought to life as the charity begins building the first of 10 schools later this year.
According to the Associated Press, organizers will begin work on the first school on March 30 in the Kasunga area. The nine remaining schools should be completed by June 2013. Contrary to expectations, the schools won’t be run by Raising Malawi. Instead, they will be run by the local community. Raising Malawi will only serve as financial backers, providing $300,000 to the non-governmental organization buildOn, to develop the schools. The schools will serve 1,000 of the nation’s boys and girls.
“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 about the schools.
The pop icon, who has adopted two children from the southern African nation, originally intended to build girls-only schools in Malawai, but has faced many obstacles over the years, including complaints from local farmers that they had been moved off their land by Raising Malawi, difficulties in getting the title to the land and steep construction costs.
To make the plan happen, Raising Malawi opted for “simple structures” that will be more practical and cost efficient and better serve its students, said Trevor Neilson of Global Philanthropy Group, who is helping to direct the project through a partnership with Raising Malawi.
“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,” said Madge.
BuildOn has been working in Malawi for nearly 20 years and has already built more than 50 schools in the nation as well as 427 schools around the globe. Madonna, who has practiced Kabbalah, a form of Jewish mysticism, for years, originally had the Kabbalah Centre involved in the project. However, more than a year ago, she removed them from the project and brought in Global Philanthropy Project to help see the plan through. According to Nielson, Madonna now has the proper plan and resources to make the schools a success.
“For schools to be successful, they need to have community ownership and leadership. Raising Malawi shouldn’t be running schools in Malawi. Local communities in Malawi should be running those schools, so that’s a big part of the shift,” said Nielson. “When the previous management team had those problems, I think a lot of people thought Madonna would give up. It would have been understandable, but instead she’s going to reaching twice as many kids.”
We congratulate Madonna on using her star power to help provide the children of Malawi with a solid education. Hopefully, the schools will be a success and will inspire the creation of more schools in Malawi. Here is a list of other celebrities who are using their star power to help the world’s children. –nicholas robinson