On April 5 2011, Madonna’s publicist Liz Rosenberg released this statement:
“In recent days a number of wild and totally false rumors about Madonna’s philanthropy–spread by bloggers and tabloids–have begun appearing on the internet. As we have said previously, Raising Malawi is currently undergoing a series of positive changes in an effort to serve more children. Neither Madonna nor Raising Malawi is being investigated by the FBI or the IRS. It is unfortunate that people have chosen to say things about Raising Malawi and Madonna that are not true. Madonna remains committed and focused on what matters helping the children of Malawi.”
On February 6 2008, Madonna and Gucci hosted A Night to Benefit Raising Malawi and UNICEF at the United Nations in New York City.
Here is the press release for the event:
Madonna and Gucci will host an exclusive fundraising event on February 6, 2008 to celebrate the opening of Gucci’s largest store in the world, the New York 5th Avenue Flagship. Co-chaired by Gucci’s Creative Director, Frida Giannini, this event will benefit Raising Malawi and UNICEF, and will consist of dinner followed by a guest speaker, musical performance and an after party. This special evening will be dedicated to raising funds and awareness for orphans and children made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS in Africa.
Joining Madonna and Frida Giannini is a list of distinguished co-chairs, including Adrien Brody, Arpad Busson, Salma Hayek and Francois-Henri Pinault, Tea Leoni, Lucy Liu, Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher, Gwyneth Paltrow, Professor Jeffrey Sachs, and Sting and Trudie Styler.
Both together and individually, Gucci and Madonna share a history of commitment to the fight against AIDS, as well as support for orphans and children affected by HIV/AIDS. Beginning in 1997, Madonna served as Honorary Co-chair of the record-breaking Gucci fundraising event for Aids Project Los Angeles. Ten years later, Gucci and Madonna have both responded to the global circumstances of the AIDS pandemic, pursuing interests on behalf of orphans and children affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa.
“I am grateful that Gucci is joining forces with me to bring attention to a country with millions of children in desperate need of our help” said Madonna. “Raising Malawi has already done tremendous work in helping these children. But we have much more to do and this event will surely bring us closer to our goal.”
Since 2006, Raising Malawi has been dedicated to bringing an end to the extreme poverty and hardship endured by Malawi’s one million orphans, over half of whom have been orphaned by AIDS. Co-founded by Madonna, Raising Malawi provides thousands of children with physical assistance, long-term sustainability, and psycho-social programs to address their emotional needs through several community-based projects including orphan care centers, orphanages, medical clinics, crisis nurseries, feeding programs and a soon-to-come girls’ boarding school.
Gucci has been a UNICEF corporate partner since 2004, starting with a local holiday event in Los Angeles, and growing to a global campaign in over twenty countries in 2005. The Gucci campaign supports UNICEF programs in Malawi and Mozambique, where over one million children have been orphaned by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Gucci’s support has enabled UNICEF to provide lifesaving healthcare, protection, clean water and education to orphans and children affected by HIV/AIDS. “AIDS is one of the most devastating public health problems in recent history,” said Caryl Stern, President and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. “Every day, 6,000 children lose a parent to AIDS, and 1,400 children die from AIDS. We can’t thank Gucci and Madonna enough for their commitment to helping UNICEF fight the battle against HIV and AIDS. By helping us raise funds, they are helping children in Africa to survive and thrive.”
“We are honored to have Madonna host this very special event with us, celebrating the opening of our New York Fifth Avenue flagship store while generating funds for Raising Malawi and UNICEF,” said Mark Lee, Chief Executive Officer of Gucci. “At this significant moment in Gucci’s history, we are proud to continue our commitment to a cause of great importance to the company. We are inspired by the work of Raising Malawi and UNICEF – organizations that are improving life in communities devastated by HIV/AIDS, and helping thousands of children in their daily struggle to survive.”
The event is being entirely underwritten by Gucci, so every dollar raised will go directly to the important work of Raising Malawi and UNICEF.
On May 28 2008, Madonna learned that she was officially going to be allowed to adopt David Banda.
The High Court in Malawi granted Madonna permanent adoption of 2-year-old David Banda.
Madonna’s lawyer made this statement:
“We are very happy with what the judge has ruled. Finally the court has granted Madonna full adoption rights of the boy…It’s all over, thank God. It is a positive and beautiful judgment that will have an impact on Malawi’s adoption laws.”
On January 8 2013, Raising Malawi announced that Madonna’s on-going commitment to Malawi had completed the construction of ten primary schools to support the education of orphans and children of the country. The new schools serve to educate 4,871 children. The new schools were the result of a partnership between Madonna, her charity Raising Malawi and the global non-profit organization buildOn.
The tens schools were built six months ahead of schedule.
Madonna had this to say about the new schools:
“I am overjoyed that my commitment along with buildOn’s to help educate the children of Malawi has come to fruition. In a country where girls have little opportunity for education, it’s additionally inspiring to know that more than half the students attending will be young girls. The fact that more than 4,800 children in Malawi will get to go to school next year is a tremendous step forward for their individual growth and the growth of Malawi.”
On October 30 2006, Madonna appeared on the cover of People magazine with the headline: Madonna’s Adoption Drama.
Here’s a snippet of the article:
Bringing Home David By Karen S. Schneider
As Madonna and Her Husband, Guy Ritchie Welcome Home Their New 13-Month-Old Son from Malawi, Local Human Rights Groups—and Some of the Boy’s Relatives—Raise Questions Over the Legality of the Adoption.
Madonna had only seen a snapshot of David Banda and had learned only basic information about him when she and her husband, Guy Ritchie flew to the African nation of Malawi on Oct. 3. But when the singer arrived at the Home of Hope Orphanage Centre and met the 13-month-old boy, says Madonna’s spokeswoman Liz Rosenberg, “It was love at first sight.” Adds a witness: “The look of pure joy on her face was beyond words, not unlike when her children [Lourdes, 10, and Rocco, 6] were born.”
About a week later—even as a storm of controversy was brewing over the planned adoption—Madonna’s happiness was echoed in a dimly lit room of the High Court in the Malawian capital of Lilongwe. The pop superstar, 48, and her director husband, 38, met, for the first time, with David’s dad, a farmer named Yohane Banda. Through a translator who spoke Banda’s Chichewa language, “she asked lots of questions,” says Banda, 32. “How old I am, what I do for a living, everything.”
Madonna also made promises—to provide Banda’s only child with a loving home, and to bring him back to Malawi to visit. For the singer, the face-to-face with Banda marked a turning point in an almost year-long effort to adopt a child from an impoverished nation where she helps fund six orphanages. (She has also pledged to sponsor improvements through the Millennium Promise program.) For Banda—who ekes out a living farming onions and cabbage, and placed David in the church-run Home of Hope when his wife died—it was a chance to give his son, he tells PEOPLE, “a brighter future.” Adds David’s grandmother Asineti Mwale, 56: “God has heard our prayer. May he bless this kindhearted woman abundantly.”
On October 25 2009, Madonna released this statement before she arrived in Malawi for the ground breaking ceremony for the Raising Malawi Academy for Girls (the photos here are from the event):
My family and I are on our way to Malawi to attend the ground breaking ceremony for Raising Malawi Academy for Girls. The ceremony will take place on Monday, October 26 at 3:00 p.m. on the future site of the Academy.
Our vision for the school is to empower girls to become Malawi’s future leaders. Our goal is to teach them to challenge themselves, serve their local communities and develop their country.
We created this vision in partnership with the local Malawian Ministry of Education, and other educational experts from Malawi, Sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere around the world. We are developing and using innovative educational approaches, cutting-edge architectural design methods, and other modern technologies, which we hope, will become a replicable model for girls secondary school education. Research proves that young girls throughout the developing world are often left without opportunities to receive a comprehensive education and the benefits that education can provide.
It’s an honor for me to be able to help as many of these girls as I can achieve their dreams. I’m also incredibly proud of all the projects Raising Malawi is involved in and I look forward to visiting a number of them during my visit.