Madonna and Mercy Go To Malawi: Brick Laying at a New $15 Million Girl's School
By Dino Sossi Posted Apr 6th 2010 11:00AM
Surprises by Her Madgesty don't end on stage -- they also happen in schools. Madonna brought daughters Mercy James and Lourdes to Malawi to lay the ceremonial first brick for a $15 million school in the impoverished African country, reports the Daily Mail.
"It has always been my dream to train women leaders who can help develop the country," said Madonna during the ceremony. She had previously visited the site in October 2009.
"It pains me to see children denied their most basic needs to survive because they were born into extreme poverty," Madonna said.
She has donated millions of her own money to the country. "It is my aim to see Malawian girls get the right education," said Madonna, who was raised and schooled in Michigan. Economist Jeffrey Sachs, Special Advisor to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, also addressed the audience. Four in ten citizens in Malawi subsist on less than a dollar a day, and the life expectancy is only 41 years.
The motto "Dare to Dream," as well as "Raising Malawi Academy for Girls," was inscribed on the brick. Malawian education officials and curious villagers attended the ceremony. It was held at the school site in the village of Chinkhota, located approximately 9 miles from the capital city of Lilongwe. Madonna also pumped fresh water into a bucket in front of both her daughters as well as local inhabitants, who appeared delighted. Madonna, however, chose instead to drink what appeared to be Coca-Cola. She normally drinks Kaballah water, a symbol of devotion to the religious movement she follows.
Madonna has a historic association with the Mchinji district of Malawi. Her adopted son David Banda, 4, was born there. The visit is the singer's first since the controversial adoption of a second Malawian child, daughter Mercy James. The Material Girl has been accused of using her material worth to circumvent residential laws pertaining to adoption. Foreigners are normally required to be a resident in Malawi for 18 months before adopting a child. Banda's adoption in 2006 was opposed by Yohane Banda, his biological father. He later complained that he had only seen his son once since the adoption.
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