Pop icon, Madonna, is slated to have her charity and its partner construct ten new schools in Malawi, working in cooperation with buildOn. The new schools will have the capacity to education 1,000 students—half of whom will be girls.
buildOn is a non-governmental organization with 19 years of experience. The group has already build 54 schools in Malawi.
Now, in addition to making her directorial debut in W.E—about the romance between King Edward VIII of England and Wallis Simpson, an American divorcee—Madonna is putting her own charity to work for orphaned and vulnerable children in Malawi.
The country is home to 1.4 million of orphans of all causes. With an adult HIV prevalence rate of 11 per cent, a good chunk of this number are AIDS orphans.
Madonna’s Raising Malawi organization has faced mismanagement that forced it to abandon its original plans for a girls’ school. Yet, it has been providing some of the country’s 650,000 AIDS orphans with vital material and psychosocial care through its support of community-based organizations.
“I have learned a great deal over the last few years and feel confident that we can reach our goals to educate children in Malawi, especially young girls, in a much more practical way. Constructing smaller schools in partnership with buildOn has restored my faith that we can accomplish what we promised we would,” said Madonna in a statement.
Making sure that all Malawian children receive a full course of schooling remains challenging. According to information published by the United Nation’s Children’s Fund (UNICEF), between 2005 and 2009, only 36 per cent of children entering primary school graduated. Meanwhile, only 27 per cent of girls were enrolled in high school.
Malawi is currently off-track to meet the first Millennium Development Goal (MDG)—eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. At present levels of progress, according to the United Nations Development Programme’s MDG Monitor, the country will also fail to meet targets on maternal health and environmental sustainability by 2015.
But, with some changes, it’s possible for Malawi to achieve universal primary education, as well as reduce child mortality and gender inequality.
Construction on Madonna’s schools is expected to begin at the end of March about 129 kilometers from Lilongwe, the national capital. By June of next year, all ten schools should have reached completion.