Raising Malawi

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Raising Malawi is a charity non-profit organization that was founded by Madonna and Michael Berg in 2006. It is dedicated to helping with the extreme poverty and hardship endured by Malawi's one million orphans.

Initially, the "Raising Malawi Academy for Girls" was to be constructed but following an audit by the Global Philanthropy Group, which questioned expenditure on salaries and benefits as well as the management capacity and culture, the charity's school headmistress resigned in October 2010 and the project was scrapped. In January 2012, the organisation announced a partnership to build 10 primary schools to serve over 1,000 children in Malawi. Children will receive primary education support, including academic scholarships, school uniforms, and learning materials. They will benefit from the construction of new or renovated primary and secondary schools.

In December 2012 it was announced that the organization has built ten schools to educate 4,871 children in different locations in Malawi. The enterprise was in association with buildOn and will benefit children of all sexes and the project was completed within twelve months, six months ahead of schedule.[1]

In April 2013, President of Malawi Joyce Banda expressed criticism of Madonna and her charity, accusing her of exaggerating her charity's contribution and "bullying state officials." Madonna responded by releasing a statement saying she was saddened that Banda "has chosen to release lies about what we've accomplished, my intentions, how I personally conducted myself while visiting Malawi and other untruths. I have no intention of being distracted by these ridiculous allegations." Later, it was confirmed that Banda had not approved the statement released written by her press team and was "incandescent with anger" over the mix-up.

Mission statement[edit]

Since 2006, Raising Malawi has been dedicated to bringing an end to the extreme poverty and hardship endured by Malawi’s one million orphans. Co-founded by Madonna and Michael Berg, Raising Malawi uses a community-based approach to provide immediate direct physical assistance, create long-term sustainability, support education and psycho-social programs, and build public awareness through multimedia and worldwide volunteer efforts.
As a part of its activities, Raising Malawi works to distribute financial support that will help community-based organizations provide vulnerable children with nutritious food, proper clothing, secure shelter, formal education, targeted medical care, and emotional support. We do not create or manage our own programs in Malawi; rather we support dedicated people on the ground and in the villages, the ones closest to the realities that exist. We believe in empowering the smartest and most caring of those people, the ones who understand the challenges and the solutions.
By choosing to work at a community-based level, rather than trying to impose Western beliefs and methodologies on a different culture, real and lasting change is occurring in the lives of hundreds of thousands of impoverished children in Malawi.[2]

Charity fundraiser[edit]

On February 6, 2008, Madonna and Gucci hosted a fundraiser on the North Lawn of the United Nations in New York to benefit Raising Malawi & UNICEF. In attendance was Tom Cruise, Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez, Gwen Stefani Demi Moore and Gwenyth Paltrow.[3] On October 29, 2009, Madonna announced on the Raising Malawi website and her own official website that she vowed to match, dollar for dollar, every donation made towards all Raising Malawi projects.

Education projects[edit]

One of Raising Malawi's major projects was funding girls education. Madonna had co-sponsored investments into building a school, Raising Malawi Academy for Girls. The project however was scrapped due to financial & tax irregularities.[4] There is a current legal suit that has been filed by eight former employees citing wrongful termination.[5] In January 2012, Raising Malawi announced a partnership with buildOn to build 10 primary schools to serve over 1,000 children in Malawi. Children will receive primary education support, including academic scholarships, school uniforms, and learning materials. They will benefit from the construction of new or renovated primary and secondary schools.[6][7]

In December 2012 it was announced that Madonna's Raising Malawi organization has built ten schools to educate 4,871 children in different locations in Malawi. The enterprise was in association with buildOn and follows the original announcement of building an Academy for Girl which was scrapped. Instead the schools will benefit children of all sexes and the project was completed within twelve months, six months ahead of schedule.[8]

Management and financial problems[edit]

Following an audit by the Global Philanthropy Group, which questioned expenditure on salaries and benefits as well as the management capacity and culture, the charity's school headmistress was fired in October 2010. In January 2011 it was announced that plans to build a school, the charity's flagship project, were abandoned.[9] In March 2011 the Board of Directors was removed. The collapse of the school project has resulted in labour disputes and complicated a dispute with villagers who lost land to the project.[10] It has also resulted in a legal suite by former employees at the school for wrongful termination.[11] It is expected that the labour dispute will be heard by the Malawi courts in April 2011.[12]

Criticism[edit]

Madonna visited Malawi in April 2013, President of Malawi Joyce Banda expressed criticism of Madonna and her charity, accused her of exaggerating her charity's contribution and "bullying state officials". The president's office accused her of being "a musician who desperately thinks she must generate recognition by bullying state officials instead of playing decent music on the stage" and added "For her to tell the whole world that she is building schools in Malawi when she has actually only contributed to the construction of classrooms is not compatible with manners of someone who thinks she deserves to be revered with state grandeur."[13] Madonna responded by releasing a statement saying she was saddened that Banda "has chosen to release lies about what we've accomplished, my intentions, how I personally conducted myself while visiting Malawi and other untruths. I have no intention of being distracted by these ridiculous allegations." Later, it was confirmed that Banda had not approved the statement released written by her press team and was "incandescent with anger" over the mix-up.[14]

Documentary film[edit]

In May 2008, Madonna hosted the premiere of a documentary film that she wrote and produced, titled I Am Because We Are, at the Tribeca Film Festival.[15] Directed by Nathan Rissman, the film follows the stories of several Malawian children who have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS and poverty.[16] The documentary was also screened at the Cannes Film Festival in connection with the 2008 amfAR Cinema Against AIDS gala,[17] and at the Traverse City Film Festival in Michigan. On March 25, 2009, the documentary officially debuted on YouTube and Hulu.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Madonna Announces Completion Of 10 Schools In Malawi In Partnership With buildOn". PR Newswire. 2012-12-27. Retrieved 2012-12-31. 
  2. ^ http://www.raisingmalawi.org/rm_mission.php
  3. ^ http://www.unicefusa.org/news/releases/a-night-to-benefit-raising.html
  4. ^ http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gu7xv7yKeCLdGBhsZeIGb5f4uF3Q?docId=CNG.3d22b01370fecf73a221d556297b13b9.851
  5. ^ http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gu7xv7yKeCLdGBhsZeIGb5f4uF3Q?docId=CNG.3d22b01370fecf73a221d556297b13b9.851
  6. ^ http://www.raisingmalawi.org/pages/progress
  7. ^ *Raising Malawi blog. (2012, January 30th). Madonna honors commitment to help children of Malawi. Retrieved from http://www.raisingmalawi.org/blog/entry/madonna-honors-commitment-to-help-children-of-malawi/
  8. ^ "Madonna Announces Completion Of 10 Schools In Malawi In Partnership With buildOn". PR Newswire. 2012-12-27. Retrieved 2012-12-31. 
  9. ^ "Madonna's Malawi charity 'squandered millions'". The Guardian. 25 Mar 2011. Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  10. ^ "Madonna sued by charity workers over scrapped Malawi school". The Guardian. 28 Mar 2011. Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  11. ^ http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gu7xv7yKeCLdGBhsZeIGb5f4uF3Q?docId=CNG.3d22b01370fecf73a221d556297b13b9.851
  12. ^ "Madonna's folly in Malawi". The Guardian. 30 Mar 2011. Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  13. ^ "Malawi labels Madonna a 'bully' after recent visit". BBC. 2013-04-11. Retrieved 2013-04-11. 
  14. ^ "Malawi president's attack on Madonna said to be a 'goof'". The Guardian. 12 Apr 2013. Retrieved 2013-04-15. 
  15. ^ http://www.tribecafilmfestival.org/filmguide/I_Am_Because_We_Are.html
  16. ^ http://www.iambecauseweare.com
  17. ^ http://www.raisingmalawi.org/blog_cannes.php

External links[edit]