Madonna Charity Boss Defends Malawi School Plans

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April 1, 2012 | 9:31am EST

A representative for Madonna’s Raising Malawi charity has hit back at accusations the singer failed to seek official permission to start work on a new school-building project in the country, calling the rumours “simply not true”.
The pop superstar, who has adopted two children from Malawi, set up her foundation to help other kids in the country, but plans to build a school there fell into crisis amid allegations of financial problems at the organisation last year.

She recently announced plans to move forward with a scheme to build 10 new educational centres in the impoverished African nation, but government Ministry of Education spokeswoman Lindiwe Chide insisted the move came as a surprise to Malawi authorities as Madonna did not consult them about her scheme.

However, Trevor Neilson, from the Global Philanthropy Group, which runs the Raising Malawi Trust in the US, is adamant a letter outlining the plan was handed to the country’s Ministry of Education on 30 January, while government representatives also attended a ceremony when building work recently began there.

Neilson called claims Madonna had not sought proper permission “simply not true”, telling Britain’s Sunday Mirror, “Our current plan is to serve twice as many kids as would have been served with the (original) academy project… Despite all of the challenges of working in Malawi, she (Madonna) is still trying to put kids in school there, and it is bewildering why anyone would oppose that.”

He also insisted the decision to close the organisation’s headquarters in Malawi will not affect the plans, adding, “We shut down the offices in Malawi because we believed a large amount of money had been wasted.”

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