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Madonna to Open Malawian Academy

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Madonna launched construction on Monday on a $15 million academy for girls she is building in Malawi, and the pop star pledged to build similar schools in other countries if the project succeeds.

The Raising Malawi Academy for Girls will be located in Chinkhota, a village about 10 miles outside the capital, Lilongwe. According to Reuters, the school is expected to be completed in two years and will admit 500 girls.

"Our goal is to teach them to challenge themselves, serve their local communities, and develop their country," said Madonna, reports CNN. "Research proves that young girls throughout the developing world are often left without opportunities to receive a comprehensive education."

Accompanying Madonna on the trip were her four children, including two adopted from Malawi: David Banda, 4, who was adopted in 2006, and Chifundo "Mercy" James, 3, adopted earlier this year.

Madonna cofounded the nonprofit Raising Malawi, which helps feed, educate, and provide medical care for those in need. In 2008 the advocate for the southern African nation also debuted her documentary, I Am Because We Are, to highlight poverty, AIDS, and other diseases devastating children in Malawi.

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