Malawi Government Applauds Madonna

The Malawi Government has applauded pop diva Madonna's efforts to put the plight of the country's Aids orphans on the global stage and raising money to support them.

The American singer pledged last week to work with luxury goods maker Gucci to raise at least US$2 million ($2.68) million for Malawi's orphans - numbering more than a million.

Madonna and the Italian firm will host a fundraising event with dinner, musical performance and a party in February to mark the opening of Gucci's largest store in the world, on New York's Fifth Avenue.

Malawi's Information Minister, Patricia Kaliati, said: "What she is doing for the orphans of this country, very few superstars like her can do that - she has managed to raise their plight on the world stage.

"Madonna has built clinics in rural areas where the government has failed to reach. Because of that, she has saved many lives of pregnant mothers who could have died."

The bid by the pop star and her movie director husband Guy Ritchie to adopt David Banda from Malawi has hit several snags since they took the 13-month-old boy to their London home last year.

The boy had been placed in an orphanage by his father after the death of his mother.

Madonna is due to return to Malawi in April for an official hearing before she can permanently adopt the child.

Madonna said the charity event would benefit Unicef and the charity she co-founded in 2006, Raising Malawi, which focuses on helping the country's orphans, many of whose parents have died of Aids.


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