Madonna ends Malawi controversial tour: Accused of lying to the world on ‘schools’

Madonna with Mercy and David Banda  tours the Mphandura orphange near Lilongwe, Malawi on April 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Thoko Chikondi)
Madonna with Mercy and David Banda tours the Mphandura orphange near Lilongwe, Malawi on April 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Thoko Chikondi)

US pop star Madonna on Saturday night ended her week-long controversial tour to Malawi after  being accused of   claiming to have built 10 schools across the country when she is has been building  school blocks within existing government schools.

The pop diva and her four children arrived in Malawi on Easter Monday and visited the 10 school blocks that her Raising Malawi charity has helped build or renovate in collaboration with BuildOn.

Madonna has been accused of “lying to world” at the expense of Malawi that she is building schools.

President Joyce Banda, who Madonna had requested to meet, did not grant the singer her request, accusing her for claiming to have built 10 schools across the country.

“Where are the ten schools she has built? She is just building school blocks at already existing schools. In some cases she just renovated an already existing block. This is an insult to the people of Malawi. She can’t be lying to the world at our expense,” an angry President Banda reportedly said in widely quoted remarks.

But in a handwritten letter she wrote President Banda during the visit, Madonna confessed her admiration of the Malawian leader.

“I have always admired your strength and courage and have very fond memories of when we met and spoke…. As you know I am in Malawi for the week. If you have any time in your very busy schedule to meet that would be great. If not, just know I would like to be of service and continue to support the children of Malawi,” reads part of the letter.

Trevor Neilson, President of the Global Philanthropy Group that is managing Madonna’s projects in Malawi is widely quoted saying President Banda “might be compromised” because her younger sister  – Anjimile Ntila-Oponyo –  who was CEO for Raising Malawi Malawi office, was fired and is suing Madonna.

“I want to say that my reasons for being here have never changed. I’m here because I care deeply about the children of Malawi. That is my main priority,” said Madonna.

“So regardless of the challenges, the ups and the downs, the things that I’ve learned…I have not forgotten my commitment to the children, the orphans, but specifically all children of Malawi,” the singer added.

The singer also visited a hospital’s pediatric ward and several orphanages, including the Home of Hope, where she adopted David Banda in 2006. She also adopted Mercy James from Malawi in 2009.

Madonna initially planned to build a $15 million 500-bed Raising Malawi Academy for girls, before changing plans to help fund several community schools, which led to some controversy in Malawi.

She also closed the Malawi office of Raising Malawi and fired staff for misappropriating funds.

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