Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 2 August 2014

Malawians hail Madonna project

Madonna has funded several community schools in Malawi

Schoolchildren joined by hundreds of villagers have danced around pop diva Madonna and serenaded her with praise songs as she inspected school blocks she helped to construct in Malawi.

"Zikomo (Thank you)," said the singer as the Malawians rejoiced at Nkoko Primary School in the central Kasungu district, where she worked with non-profit organisation BuildOn to construct classrooms.

Madonna initially planned to build a 15 million US dollar (£10 million) 500-bed Raising Malawi Academy for girls, before changing plans to help fund several community schools to benefit more Malawians. She arrived in Malawi yesterday to tour the 10 school wings she has helped to build.

"I love Malawi, I am committed to help end poverty here," she said.

Madonna is the "biggest global philanthropist" Malawi has had, said Trevor Neilson, president of the Global Philanthropy Group that is managing the pop star's projects in Malawi.

She is exploring more projects she can work on in Malawi, said Mr Neilson.

Madonna's efforts have provided new classrooms for more than 4,000 children who were previously learning under trees.

"Madonna is happy that the communities are appreciating her efforts," he said.

She has been joined on her tour by her two adopted Malawian children, David Banda and Mercy James, both now eight.

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