Education

Madonna Scraps Plan to Build More Schools in Malawi

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

Returning from a weeklong trip to Malawi, Madonna, who wrote the African nation’s President Joyce Banda a handwritten note, has scrapped her former plans to build more community schools there.

The 54-year-old pop singer traveled last week with her two adopted Malawian children to southeast Africa, where her charity BuildOn has renovated or constructed 10 schools.

Madonna originally planned to build a $15 million academy for girls, the 500-bed Raising Malawi Academy. She then changed her mind and decided to build several community schools.

Now she has cancelled that plan also and closed the Malawi offices for the Raising Malawi Academy, firing staff for misappropriating funds.

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The amost illegible letter to Banda is full of errors, the Daily News reported. In it, Madonna addresses the president by her first name and called the leader’s position a "huge responsability," with an A.

She did not meet with Banda, the country’s first female leader, during the weeklong trip.

"Madonna came to Malawi to build a school, an academy like the one Oprah buil[t] in South Africa, but she changed her mind," Banda told The Daily Telegraph.

"I have a problem with a lot of things around the adoption of the children and the changing of the mind and then coming back to build community schools,” she said.

Madonna has two 8-year-old adopted children from Malawi, David and Mercy.

"I don't want to discuss that, I don't want that to be top of my agenda because it doesn't matter,” Banda, Africa’s second female president, added. “It's something she offered to do and she has changed her mind – that's fine."

Madonna already spent $400,000 on the incomplete project. She said it benefited approximately 4,000 school children.

Malawi Education Minister Eunice Kazembe found Madonna’s decision as an insult. "She promised an academy and we agreed on standards but she just changed her mind on the project without consulting us," Kazembe said.

"We'd like them to work with us so that they can be absorbed into the strategy of Malawi's education and that goes not just for Madonna — any group that comes to Malawi to assist us in education."

Sources: The Telegraph, Daily News