October 22, 2009 / 5:32 PM / 8 years ago

Madonna to lay school's foundation stone in Malawi

LILONGWE (Reuters) - Madonna will visit Malawi on Sunday to lay the foundation stone of a multi-million dollar girls’ school she is building, her charity Raising Malawi told Reuters.

<p>U.S. popstar Madonna and her adopted son David Banda visit the child's biological father Yohane Banda (L) in Malawi in this undated publicity photo released to Reuters March 31, 2009. REUTERS/Tom Munro/Warner Brothers Records/Handout</p>

The singer, who has adopted two children from the southern African country, is due to arrive on Sunday and attend a brick-laying ceremony in Lilongwe on Monday. The school is expected to cost about $15 million.

“She plans to meet the President Bingu wa Mutharika and together lay a foundation stone for her multi-million dollar girls school,” a staffer at the charity, who declined to be named, said on Thursday.

An AIDS epidemic has left over a million children orphaned in the impoverished country of 13 million.

Malawi’s government came under fire after Madonna adopted a 13-month-old boy, David Banda, in 2006, with critics accusing it of giving her special treatment by skirting laws that ban non-residents from adopting children.

In June this year, Malawi’s Supreme Court overturned a lower court ruling made in April which said Madonna could not adopt a four-year girl -- Mercy James -- because the singer was not a resident of the country.

Madonna last year divorced British film director Guy Ritchie, with whom she has a son Rocco. She also has a daughter Lourdes from her relationship with fitness trainer Carlos Leon.

Reporting by Mabvuto Banda; Editing by Cris Chinaka and Elizabeth Fullerton

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