SEATTLE, Washington — Malawi is a small, landlocked country in Southeastern Africa that has faced its fair share of struggles throughout the years. More than 80 percent of the country’s population of 17.5 million work in agriculture, and in recent years the country has seen many agricultural issues including problems with finding water resources, soil erosion and deforestation. Fortunately for Malawi, the country has been making economic progress and has also captured the heart of one of Hollywood’s most generous celebrities: Madonna. In 2006, Madonna’s “Raising Malawi,” foundation was created.
Madonna’s Raising Malawi Foundation
Raising Malawi is a foundation that works to improve the lives of children living in Malawi. Madonna has taken multiple trips to Malawi and has even adopted three of her children from the country. Madonna’s Raising Malawi foundation has accomplished a lot since its beginning.
The AIDS epidemic takes a large toll on the families of Malawi. Almost 17 percent of children are orphans or considered vulnerable due to the AIDS/HIV epidemic. Raising Malawi works to support Malawi orphans by providing resources such as education, medical care and food.
In 2008, Madonna wrote and produced a documentary called “I Am Because We Are.” The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and follows the singer’s journey through Malawi. It also introduces the audiences to some of the orphans living in Malawi. The documentary features interviews from experts, professors and other philanthropists.
In 2014, the President of Malawi, Peter Mutharika appointed Madonna as the country’s Goodwill Ambassador for child welfare. This was soon after spending Thanksgiving in the country with two of her adopted children.
Raising Malawi’s Impact
In July 2017, Raising Malawi was able to open the Mercy James Centre of Paediatric Surgery and Intensive Care (MJC) in the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital. The MJC provides free care to Malawian children and also serves as a training facility for doctors. Since its opening, the MJC has treated more than 33,000 patients and performed more than 3,800 surgeries.
In 2012, Madonna’s Raising Malawi partnered with buildOn, a global nonprofit, to build 14 primary schools. These schools currently serve almost 10,000 students and make education more accessible to Malawian children, especially girls.
After severe flooding struck Malawi in 2018 and 2019, Raising Malawi partnered with UNICEF to provide emergency aid to families that were experiencing suffering. These two organizations were able to provide 220,000 people with clean water, 84,000 women and children with medical services and 194,000 children with temporary schooling.
Raising Malawi’s Partnerships
Since 2006, Madonna’s Raising Malawi has made a large impact on the nation’s children, its most vulnerable population. The foundation has partnered with large organizations such as Givenchy, Johnson and Johnson and the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. Raising Malawi has also gained the attention of other celebrities such as Gwen Stefani, Jennifer Lopez and Tom Cruise.
Madonna has not only raised millions for the country but has also personally contributed to improving the living conditions of Malawi’s children. Madonna’s impact and her foundation have been hands-on since the start, and there is no doubt that she will continue to fight for the children of Malawi.
– Alyson Kaufman
Photo: Wikimedia Commons