Plan for Madonna's Malawian school 'discontinued'

Madonna’s plans to build a school for girls in Malawi have been “discontinued”.

Madonna’s plans to build a school for girls in Malawi have been “discontinued”.

The ‘Celebration’ singer pledged to build an academy in the African country following her adoption of now five-year-old son David in 2006, but the $3.8m (€2.7m) she has put into the project through her charitable foundation Raising Malawi has so far not developed into an educational establishment.

In an email to contributors to the school fund from the Kabbalah Centre International in Los Angeles, Michael Berg – who co-founded the charity with the pop star, who is a follower of the mystical faith, and the centre – claimed original plans were not to be finished.

According to the New York Times newspaper, he said: “A thoughtful decision has been made to discontinue plans for the Raising Malawi Academy for Girls, as it was originally conceived.”

The board of directors at the charitable organisation has been replaced and a caretaker board, including the 52-year-old singer, has taken over.

Madonna – who also adopted now six-year-old Mercy from Malawi in 2009, joining children Lourdes, 14, and Rocco, 10 - admits she is “frustrated” at the development because of the lack of education in the country.

She said in a statement: “There is a real education crisis in Malawi, 67% of girls don’t go to secondary school. Our team is going to work hard to address this in every way we can.”

It has not been determined exactly what has happened to the $3.8m (€2.7m), with Trevor Nielsen from the Global Philanthropy Group – who Madonna recruited last year when initial signs of trouble were brewing at her charity – claiming funds have not all been “accounted for”.

He said: “Despite $3.8m having been spent by the previous management team, the project has not broken ground, there was no title to the land and there was, over all, a startling lack of accountability on the part of the management team in Malawi and the management team in the United States.

“We have yet to determine exactly what happened to all of that $3.8m. We have not accounted for all the funds that were used.”

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