Madonna’s charity reaffirms commitment to Malawi


The pop star during one of her visit to Malawi
American pop diva Madonna’s Malawi charity on Friday pledged to continue its work as the country makes a new beginning under President Joyce Banda.

“This is a critical time for Malawi as President Banda attempts to steer Malawi back toward more successful times. It is also a crucial moment for the friends of Malawi to continue to show their support,” Raising Malawi said in a statement.

“Raising Malawi remains a committed friend to Malawi and has expanded support in 2012 into the area of education.”

Banda was sworn in on April 7 as Malawi’s first female president after the sudden death of President Bingu wa Mutharika two days earlier.

Raising Malawi in January announced it would build 10 rural schools, changing focus after abandoning a failed $15 million-project to set up a girls academy.

The plans angered education officials in the country over not being consulted on the change of focus.

Ground was broken on the first school in central Malawi in February and two more schools are set to be finished later this year, it said.

Immediately after coming to power Banda moved to heal breaches with donors that had been alienated by Mutharika’s oppressive economic policies.

Several had suspended funding, including the United States, the IMF, and Britain which previously contributed 19 million pounds ($30 million, 23 million euro) in aid a year.

Madonna, whose adoptions of two children from Malawi were embroiled in controversy, has not visited the country since she dropped the academy plans last year.

The singer has poured millions into helping children in Malawi, where 39 percent of the population lives on less than $1 a day.

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