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, primarily through health and education programming.

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 rural Malawi. Children received 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 2014 it was announced that the organization completed 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.

Madonna has since further strengthened her relationship with the Malawian government. In November 2014, Madonna and the Raising Malawi team visited the country and met with newly elected President Peter Mutharika as well as several Government Ministers. During the visit, President Mutharika named Madonna the Goodwill Ambassador for Child Welfare. Madonna said in a statement, “I feel a deep commitment and love for the children of Malawi and am grateful for the support of the Government. I look forward to my new role as Goodwill Ambassador for Child Welfare." [2]

Mission statement[edit]

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 Gwyneth Paltrow.[4] 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.

Programs[edit]

Education[edit]

One of Raising Malawi’s major focus areas is funding education projects. Raising Malawi supports the basic education needs of Malawi orphans, including academic scholarships, school uniforms, and learning materials. Raising Malawi sponsors 600 children at a Malawian orphanage with educational funding, vocational scholarships and an HIV awareness soccer program. [5]

Madonna had co-sponsored investments into building a school, Raising Malawi Academy for Girls. The project however was scrapped due to financial & tax irregularities.[6] 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.[7][8]

In December 2014 it was announced that Madonna's Raising Malawi organization completed ten schools to educate 4,871 children in different locations in Malawi. The enterprise is 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.[9]

Health[edit]

Fifty percent of Malawi’s population is under 15 years of age, making pediatric care a top priority for the country.[10] Raising Malawi has addressed this need since 2008 by supporting the pediatric surgery program at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, the country’s commercial capital. Queen Elizabeth is the largest hospital in Malawi and serves a population of 700,000 people annually. It is also a public hospital meaning services are free. At Queen Elizabeth, Raising Malawi partners with one of only three pediatric surgeons in Malawi, who performs hundreds of life-saving surgeries annually and teaches local medical students and clinicians. Raising Malawi recently expanded its pediatric surgery work at Queen Elizabeth by launching a project with the Malawi Ministry of Health to construct a pediatric surgery and intensive care unit (ICU) at the hospital. The facility will include the country’s first pediatric ICU, will double the number of life-saving surgeries, and will improve longer health outcomes for children who are currently dying as they wait for ICU beds.[11] Raising Malawi also collaborates with the Elizabeth Taylor Aids Foundation to bring Grassroot Soccer (GRS), a HIV/AIDS prevention and testing program, into the communities where Raising Malawi is active. GRS is also active in the Mulanje region, one of the highest HIV infection areas in the country. [12]

Girl's School[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.[13] In March 2011 the Board of Directors was removed. The collapse of the school project resulted in labour disputes and complicated a dispute with villagers who lost land to the project.[14] It also resulted in a legal suit by former employees at the school for wrongful termination.[15]

Government Relations[edit]

When 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."[16] 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.[17]

Madonna and Raising Malawi have since strengthened their relationship with the Malawian government. In November 2014, Madonna and the Raising Malawi team visited the country and met with newly elected President Peter Mutharika as well as several Government Ministers. During the visit, President Mutharika named Madonna the Goodwill Ambassador for Child Welfare. [18]

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.[19] Directed by Nathan Rissman, the film follows the stories of several Malawian children who have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS and poverty.[20] The documentary was also screened at the Cannes Film Festival in connection with the 2008 amfAR Cinema Against AIDS gala,[21] 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://news.madonnatribe.com/en/2014/madonna-appointed-as-malawis-goodwill-ambassador-for-child-welfare/
  3. ^ http://www.raisingmalawi.org/rm_mission.php
  4. ^ http://www.unicefusa.org/news/releases/a-night-to-benefit-raising.html
  5. ^ http://www.raisingmalawi.org/pages/154
  6. ^ http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gu7xv7yKeCLdGBhsZeIGb5f4uF3Q?docId=CNG.3d22b01370fecf73a221d556297b13b9.851
  7. ^ http://www.raisingmalawi.org/pages/progress
  8. ^ *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/
  9. ^ "Madonna Announces Completion Of 10 Schools In Malawi In Partnership With buildOn". PR Newswire. 2012-12-27. Retrieved 2012-12-31. 
  10. ^ http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/malawi_statistics.html
  11. ^ http://mwnation.com/madonna-build-paediatric-ward-qech/
  12. ^ http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/the-elizabeth-taylor-aids-foundation-etaf-builds-on-elizabeth-taylors-legacy-as-a-leader-and-crusader-in-the-fight-against-hivaids-234093511.html
  13. ^ "Madonna's Malawi charity 'squandered millions'". The Guardian. 25 Mar 2011. Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  14. ^ "Madonna sued by charity workers over scrapped Malawi school". The Guardian. 28 Mar 2011. Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  15. ^ http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gu7xv7yKeCLdGBhsZeIGb5f4uF3Q?docId=CNG.3d22b01370fecf73a221d556297b13b9.851
  16. ^ "Malawi labels Madonna a 'bully' after recent visit". BBC. 2013-04-11. Retrieved 2013-04-11. 
  17. ^ "Malawi president's attack on Madonna said to be a 'goof'". The Guardian. 12 Apr 2013. Retrieved 2013-04-15. 
  18. ^ http://news.madonnatribe.com/en/2014/madonna-appointed-as-malawis-goodwill-ambassador-for-child-welfare/
  19. ^ http://www.tribecafilmfestival.org/filmguide/I_Am_Because_We_Are.html
  20. ^ http://www.iambecauseweare.com
  21. ^ http://www.raisingmalawi.org/blog_cannes.php

External links[edit]