Madonna in new Malawi venture
US pop diva Madonna has launched a new fund-raising drive to support the training of a Malawian pediatric surgeon, two years after she abandoned a girls academy project in a cloud of alleged mismanagement.
Through her US registered charity Raising Malawi, the Queen of Pop has emailed hordes of her well-wishers and fans, addressing them as Dear Friend, and asking them to donate five dollars or more to support people like Dr Erick Borgstein.
Dr Erick Borgstein is a Professor of Surgery at College of Medicine, University of Malawi and a Surgeon at the country's largest hospital Queen Elizabeth.
There are no more details of Madonna's new project, but after her previous failures with the girls school project the new initiative is seen as just a PR initiative.
Malawi, where about half of the 14 million citizens are poor, has over one million orphans and vulnerable children, with huge shortages in the medical system.
Failed girls school project
It was not clearly how much money Madonna is seeking in this new venture, coming more than a year after her charity controversially cancelled the construction of a state-of-the-art US$15 million Raising Malawi Academy for Girls (RMAG) in Chinkhota village, 15 kilometers from the capital Lilongwe.
The academy, meant to offer 500 scholarship to girls from poor backgrounds and train them into doctors and future leaders of the country, was mired in allegations of mismanagement, including excessive spending on offices and cars. An audit had found US$3.8 million had been misused.
Madonna, who has adopted two children from Malawi — Mercy James and David Banda — said she had realized the academy would not be enough as two-thirds of Malawian girls are not educated beyond primary school and she wanted to reach “thousands and not hundreds of girls” by constructing several schools.
She said she was focused on an approach to 10 build schools within communities across the country, that would educate at least 1,000 children a year, half of them girls.