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Madonna charity scraps plans to build girls' school in Malawi

A charity group backed by pop star Madonna has scrapped its plan to build a school for impoverished girls in Malawi due to mismanagement, it has been reported.

The organisation, Raising Malawi, has ousted its board of directors and replaced its members with a new set of officials that includes Madonna and her manager, the New York Times reported.

"A thoughtful decision has been made to discontinue plans for the Raising Malawi Academy for Girls, as it was originally conceived," Michael Berg, co-founder of Raising Malawi, said in an email to the centre's members who had contributed to the project.

Berg, a co-director of the spiritual and educational organisation Kabbalah Centre International in Los Angeles, could not be reached for comment.

The report said the effort to build the Malawi school had collapsed after spending $3.8m on the project and its executive director left in October amid criticism of his management style and cost overruns.



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Madonna lent $11m of her money to the organisation. She has been a frequent visitor to Malawi and has adopted two children from the country.

The singer issued a statement yesterday, saying she was still intent on working with Raising Malawi.

"There's a real education crisis in Malawi," she said in the statement.

"Sixty-seven percent of girls don't go to secondary school, and this is simply unacceptable."

A spokeswoman for Madonna could not be reached last night.

hnews@herald.ie