Good people, news has it that Madonna has set aside her 60th birthday to raise funds for her cause to uplift children in Malawi.
It is reported that the US pop superstar has partnered Facebook to ensure this noble cause bears fruit.
There is something about Madonna’s affinity for the Malawian children that Malawi has gone into the atlas of some minds as a country where she adopts children.
Not that the child are given to her without any fight.
Just about 10 years ago, when the Material Girl saved little David from wallowing in abject poverty in the western plains of Mchinji, a battalion of activists and loudmouths from the civil society came with guns blazing and dragged her to court to stop trafficking children. In their words, her critics were convinced that the country’s adoption laws were too lenient to protect children from being trafficked by wolves in sheep skin.
Not that their fears were unfounded. Every child need maximum protection, care and support.
However, David has grown into such a lovely boy that every time he returns to this landlocked country, even those who opposed the globally acclaimed adoption ask themselves what would have become of him had Madonna not won that court case in which she was vilified and interrogated like a thief.
Those who supported Madonna’s insistence to adopt David often find solace in praising her for giving the boy a shot once dumped in an orphanage a once-in-a-lifetime shot at life worth living.
It must be love.
Given the backlash she encountered at the start of the story of the country’s most famous adoption spree, Madonna has not given up on Malawian children.
Presently, she does not have just two or three Malawian children under her care. Rather, she has four.
The adoptive mother of David not only came back to adopt Mercy James, after whom she has named a state-of-the-art children’s surgical hospital at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, but also returned to rescue twin girls whose mother died of severe bleeding the day they were born.
Everywhere they make a public appearance, Madonna’s brood from Malawi glistens with renewed hope and chances in life. They are no longer the same poor boys and girls whose only gateway to a livable life was in the orphanages that have come to absorb the extreme pressure that widespread poverty and high disease burden in Malawi exert on the extended family where it once took everyone’s hand to raise a child.
But Madonna seems unsatisfied with all she has done to uplift Malawian children.
She does not seem to tire and wobble in her global struggle to put human faces to the plight of Malawian children and signpost what increased investment in child welfare can achieve.
By setting aside her birthday to generate funds for the well-being of more Malawian children than she currently has adopted, the singer,who has constructed school blocks in some parts of the Central Region,is shining a light on what government ought to do.
The responsibility to ensure every child learns and grows in a safe environment belongs to parents and governments, certainly.
However, financial constraints and a culture of indifference at both family and government levels is not doing children justice.
The country requires more Madonnas, not only from abroad but from within as well, to rescue children in poverty and give them a solid springboard in life. They need a hand up.
With the extended family overwhelmed by the number of orphaned children and snapping under the weight of alien ethos of individualism, Malawi, like many parts of Africa, faces a new imperative to find a new model which will safeguard her orphaned and vulnerable children in the hour of need.
Madonna has done her part even to the extent of enduring dehumanising slurs from the Government of Malawi, which is supposed to be the first and foremost caregiver when it comes to child care and support.
Not long ago, a president in this country of ours stripped her the VVIP status in the country’s underdeveloped airports. Not that she needed it.
It is time Malawians from all walks of life gave her respect for the noble job she is doing.
Happy birthday, Madonna. n