Madonna Pledges To Build 10 New Schools In Malawi - But Angers Government

24/02/2012 11:05 | Updated 22 May 2015
Madonna in MalawiPA

Madonna has riled officials in Malawi with her promise to build 10 new schools, The Guardian reports today.

The pop superstar made the pledge just a year after her plans to build an academy for girls was scrapped.

Madge announced that instead, her Raising Malawi charity would work with non-profit organisation buildOn to construct 10 educational establishments in the poverty ridden country.

Malawi's national secretary for education, science and technology John Bisika is quoted in the Guardian as saying: "We have had no written or verbal communication. We just read about it in the papers. I don't understand how she can work like that. For someone to go to the papers and say, 'I'm building schools', without telling the government, I find it a strange way of working."

He went on to ask: "When will she build these schools? How will we know where these schools are needed? We need to do this in a co-ordinated manner. I wouldn't just go to the UK and start building schools. We need to be approached and work out where the schools are needed, based on school mapping. If she doesn't come through us, it will not happen. We can't just see people building schools. Let's do it properly."

Madonna's spokesperson dismissed claims of lack of consultation and showed The Guardian a letter to Malawi's education minister from the Global Philanthropy Group - the group which manages Raising Malawi. It lays out Madonna's plans for the new schools.

The paper reports that 'civil society activists' in the country are 'suspicious' of Madonna's motives. The Rev MacDonald Sembereka, acting national co-ordinator of the human rights consultative committee, told the paper that he 'fears' Madonna is 'using money to raise money for herself or moving the goalposts', saying: "We don't know if the new plan will be effective because we can't trust her any more."

He also questions whether the schools will be an "entry point for Kabbalah [a mystical offshoot of Judaism followed by Madonna] in Malawi or places where children can practice their faith without being brainwashed? That is not clear. We are worried about what we don't know."

Madonna previously adopted two children from Malawi, David Banda and Mercy James.

What do you think? Charitable act, or a profile raiser for Madge?


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