Madonna laid the first brick at the $15 million girls' academy that she is building in Malawi today, promising to bring quality education to young girls.
The singer and actress laid a stone with an inscription "Raising Malawi Academy for Girls" and the motto, Dare to Dream.
"It has always been my dream to train women leaders who can help develop the country," Madonna said during the colourful ceremony that took place in Chinkhota village, some 15 km from the capital Lilongwe. The event was attended by education officials and curious villagers.
"I grew up as a poor girl with my mother, I had no chance for good education, it is my aim to see Malawian girls get the right education," Madonna said.
Madonna, who funds several initiatives in the southern African country, broke ground and planted a tree in October last year for the school, which will admit 500 girls from poor backgrounds.
The school is modelled on a similar academy in South Africa, which was built by US talk show host Oprah Winfrey.
Madonna arrived in the impoverished southern African country on Monday, telling reporters: "It's good to be back in my adopted country".
"There is continued cooperation between the government and Madonna's charity, which is involved in several initiatives to help end poverty," Education Minister George Chaponda said about Madonna's education project.
Madonna has already built a multi-purpose community centre at Mphandula village, 50km (30 miles) from Lilongwe, which looks after more than 8,000 orphans from scores of villages in the area.
Photo: AP, Reuters
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