Madonna with David Banda, Mercy in Malawi classroom

Madonna on Tuesday took her adopted Malawi children, David Banda and Mercy James to  a local Mkoko Primary School in the central region on her trip to their native country for the first time in two years.

David Banda, adopted in 2006 and Mercy James, in 2009  are now eight.

The singer who arrived in the capital Lilongwe over the long weekend by private Gulfstream jet, was feted by villagers on Tuesday as they visited one of the 10 schools recently built by Madonna’s Raising  Malawi charity in partnership with the non-profit group BuildOn.

Meanwhile, The Telegraph of UK reported on Tuesday that Trevor Neilsen, Madonna’s philanthropy manager who is travelling with the singer, confirmed there was no meeting scheduled with President Joyce Banda.

Madonna sits with David Banda, to her left, and Mercy James in a classroom of the Mkoko Primary School Photo: AFP
Madonna sits with David Banda, to her left, and Mercy James in a classroom of the Mkoko Primary School Photo: AFP

President Banda last year criticised Madonna over her failed plan to build an elite academy for girls.

Steve Nhlane, the presidential press secretary, said it is possible Madonna might yet contact the president, noting that both she and President Banda have an interest in education for girls.

“I’m sure that her excellency would be willing to meet with her [Madonna] if she puts in a request,” Nhlane said according to Telegraph.

In 2011, Madonna stopped construction on the Raising Malawi Academy for Girls and fired staff at the planned 400-student school after allegations of financial mismanagement. She said her charity would instead build 10 primary schools for orphans and vulnerable children.

Anjimile Mtila-Oponyo, sister to President Banda, a development worker Madonna hired as chief executive officer of the $15 million Raising Malawi Academy for Girls is  now Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Education.

Malawi has over a million children most of them orphaned by the Aids epidemic and is ranked by the United Nations as one of the world’s 20 least developed countries.

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