After abandoning her plans to build a girls academy US pop star Madonna, has launched a new fund-raising drive to support the training of a Malawian pediatric surgeon.
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: “Will you consider donating $5 or more to support
people like Dr. Erick Borgstein, for many years the only paediatric
surgeon in Malawi, who are helping orphans and vulnerable children in
Malawi?”Malawi, where 39 percent of the 13 million citizens are poor,
has over one million orphans and vulnerable children, and less than 200
doctors, creating huge shortages in the medical system.
The charity said Borgstein “treats thousands of paediatric patients
every year, performing hundreds of life-saving operations.”He also
trains medical students in general and in paediatric surgery, thanks to
the financial support from Raising Malawi.
“He will now formally train a young Malawian doctor to follow in his footsteps as a paediatric surgeon,” the charity added.
Raising Malawi said for the past six years, it has “remained
committed to supporting orphans and vulnerable children in Malawi… This
would not be possible without the support of people like you, who share
in our mission to end the poverty and hardship endured by the country’s
estimated one million orphans.”Calling itself the Raising Malawi Team,
the charity thanked its supporters “for your support…we look forward to
sharing future updates with you about the inspirational work of Dr.
Borgstein and others.”
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 $15 million Raising
Malawi Academy for Girls -RMAG- in Chinkhota village, 15 kilometres 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 $3.8 million had been misused.
Madonna, who has adopted two children from Malawi- Mercy James and
David Banda – said she had realised 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 focussed 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.
The charity has teamed up with the non-profit group buildOn, which
has constructed 54 primary schools in Malawi in the last 19 years.