Madonna plante un arbre, coupe le ruban à la cérémonie d'inauguration pour l'école de filles au Malawi.
Madonna breaks ground on Malawi girls school
by Felix Mponda Felix Mponda – 26/10/2009
LILONGWE (AFP) – American pop queen Madonna broke ground Monday on a girls academy she is building in Malawi, billed as a "gift" to the country from where she has adopted two children.
"After seeing all the hard working Malawian women who are looking after families and communities, I realised how much they deserve to be educated," said Madonna.
The 51-year-old star cut a cake, planted a tree and turned the sod alongside her eldest daughter Lourdes, 13, at a colourful ceremony attended by about 1,000 locals on the outskirts of Malawi's administrative capital Lilongwe.
"The school will help girls from vulnerable backgrounds to move forward. They will use the principles of spirituality for kids," said the singer who is a devotee of Jewish Kabbalah mysticism.
According to a brochure for the Raising Malawi Girls Academy, the school will be a "leadership institution to prepare future women leaders" with 500 boarders including two impoverished girls from each of the country's 28 districts.
It will "focus on mathematics and science which traditionally have failed in Malawi and elsewhere", the brochure said, saying that the school would be a gift to the people of Malawi.
"The logical project was to build a school that will create future women leaders, doctors and surgeons," Madonna said.
The singer was entertained by traditional dancers and musicians, in a event attended by senior education officials and community leaders.
Malawi's minister of education, George Chiponda, presented the singer with the national flag and urged her to continue supporting the country's education system.
"When you have money I want you to come back and build us a university," said Chiponda.
"This year 5,000 students qualified for university entry but only 1,200 were admitted due to lack of space," said Chiponda.
The school is modelled on a similar academy built by US television talk show host Oprah Winfrey in South Africa.
In 2006, the chart-topping musician adopted a baby boy, David Banda, who is now three-years-old.
In April, the recently divorced singer and actress came back into the country to file for the adoption of Mercy James, who was placed at an orphanage following the death of her mother.
The adoption of three-year-old Mercy was initially denied but later granted after an appeal.
Madonna is also funding several charities in the small southern African country, including homes for children with AIDS.
She has already built a multi-purpose community centre at Mphandula village, 50 kilometres (30 miles) from Lilongwe, which looks after more than 8,000 orphans from scores of villages in the area.
Malawi is one of the world's poorest nations, with more than half of the population of 12 million living on less than one dollar a day. The singer has a personal fortune estimated at several hundred million dollars.
Construction of the academy will take two years.
Madonna launches Malawi school construction
Reporting by Mabvuto Banda; Editing by Muchena Zigomo
LILONGWE (Reuters) – Madonna launched the construction of a multi-million dollar girls' school she is building in Malawi on Monday and pledged to build similar schools in other countries if the project succeeds.
The Raising Malawi Academy for Girls -- in Chinkhota village about 15 kilometers outside the capital Lilongwe -- is expected to be completed in two years and will admit 500 girls from the small southern African country's 28 districts.
The construction is expected to cost $15 million.
"Growing up in a privileged life, I took education for granted...but coming to Malawi has taught me a lot of things and (I have) learnt to appreciate what life gives," Madonna said.
The singer, who has adopted two children from Malawi, said she wanted to give opportunities to underprivileged young girls.
"I realized how much they deserve to be educated and so for me the best thing I could do was to build a school, a unique school that will create future female leaders, scientists, lawyers, doctors and if this school is successful it will be used as a model to replicate it in other countries," she said.
An AIDS epidemic has left over a million children orphaned in Malawi, an impoverished country of 13 million people.
Malawi's government came under fire after Madonna adopted a 13-month-old boy, David Banda, in 2006, with critics accusing it of giving her special treatment by skirting laws that ban non-residents from adopting children.
In June this year, Malawi's Supreme Court overturned a lower court ruling made in April which said Madonna could not adopt a four-year girl -- Mercy James -- because the singer was not a resident of the country.
Madonna plants tree to launch Malawi girls school
By RAPHAEL TENTHANI, Associated Press Writer – 26/10/2009
LILONGWE, Malawi – Madonna marked the start of construction of her school for girls in Malawi on Monday by planting a tree at the planned site of the $15 million school.
The 51-year-old celebrity arrived in the impoverished southern African country on Sunday accompanied by her four children — daughters Lourdes and Mercy, and sons Rocco and David.
Madonna adopted Mercy from Malawi earlier this year and adopted David from the country in 2008.
The singer was dressed in a dark summer dress and a colorful shawl during Monday's ceremony in the town of Chinkhota, some six miles (10 kilometers) from the capital, Lilongwe. Together with eldest daughter Lourdes she planted a Moringa tree, a hardy tree with edible leaves.
"If this school is a success — with God-willing it will be — we will replicate it not only in Malawi but in other parts of the world as well," she said.
The new school will be called the Raising Malawi Academy for Girls and will open by 2011 and educate 500 students, said its future principal, Anjimile Mtila-Opponyo. It will be similar to the school built by talk show host Oprah Winfrey in South Africa.
Mtila-Opponyo said the curriculum will emphasize science and mathematics.
"Madonna did not accept that Malawian women would not study science to become doctors," she said.
The singer told some 1,000 gathered villagers she was inspired by the strength of Malawian girls and women.
"In all my travels, investigations and conversations the most recurring thing is how amazing Malawian women are, both young and old, how industrious they are and how much they deserve to be educated," she said.
Madonna's Raising Malawi, a charity founded in 2006 when she first visited the country, helps feed, educate and provide medical care for some of Malawi's orphans.
Malawi, a nation of 12 million, is one of the poorest countries in the world. About 500,000 children have lost a parent to AIDS.
Madonna will also meet with President Bingu wa Mutharika on Tuesday and visit some of the orphanages her charity supports.
U.S. singer Madonna receives flowers as she arrives to lay the foundation of a multi-million dollar girls' school she is building in Chinkota, outside Lilongewe in Malawi October 26, 2009.
US pop star Madonna, left, and her daughter Lourdes attend the ground breaking ceremony for her Raising Malawi Academy for Girls in Malawi, Monday, Oct. 26, 2009. Madonna who is funding the building of the school was the guest of honour at the function. The 51-year-old celebrity arrived in the impoverished southern African country on Sunday. She was accompanied by her four children — daughters Lourdes and Mercy, and sons Rocco and David.
US pop star Madonna, second from left, gestures before cutting the ribbon.
US pop star Madonna, second from left, cuts the ribbon.
U.S. singer Madonna holds a pair of scissors after cutting the ribbon.
A dancer performs during the turning of the soil ceremony by U.S. singer Madonna to lay the foundation of a multi-million dollar girls' school she is building in in Chinkota.
Locals perform during a soil turning ceremony by U.S. singer Madonna.
U.S. singer Madonna turns the soil to lay the foundation of a multi-million dollar girls' school she is building in Chinkota, outside Lilongewe in Malawi October 26, 2009.
U.S. singer Madonna reacts as she turns the soil.
US pop star Madonna plants a tree at a ground breaking ceremony for her Raising Malawi Academy for Girls in Malawi, Monday, Oct. 26, 2009.
U.S. singer Madonna smiles after making a speech at a soil turning ceremony to lay the foundation of a multi-million dollar girls' school she is building in Chinkota, outside Lilongewe in Malawi October 26, 2009.
Photos: REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko (MALAWI SOCIETY EDUCATION ENTERTAINMENT) ; AP/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi.