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Madonna will help
AIDS orphans in Malawi, local officials say

Madonna will help
AIDS orphans in Malawi, local officials say

Pop diva Madonna has decided to extend her charity work in Malawi to the country's water supply when she visits next month to set up an orphan care center in the southern African country, local officials said.

Expectations are running high in Malawi, an impoverished country dependent on tobacco exports, as Madonna prepares to join a flood of stars searching for a good cause on the world's poorest continent.

The advance party preparing her first visit to Africa was shocked to see young girls in the capital of Lilongwe walking long distances with buckets of water balanced on their heads.

"The team was appalled at what they saw and how women and children walk long distances to fetch water," said Adrina Michiela, principal secretary in Malawi's Ministry of Women and Child Development.

"Her team immediately pledged to support any government initiatives to improve access to water points," Michiela told Reuters.

No date has been announced for the visit, during which Madonna has said she will set up the Raising Malawi center to feed and educate about 1,000 orphans, many of them left by parents killed by AIDS, a major scourge in the region.

In plans announced in an interview with Time magazine last month, Madonna said she was raising $3 million to fund programs mostly to help orphans in Malawi.

Malawi has a population of 13 million, an estimated 1 million of them children who have lost at least one parent. (Reuters)

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