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PHOTOS: Madonna Breaks Ground On New School In Malawi

Oct. 26 2009, Published 5:42 a.m. ET

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Madonna was on hand, and hands on, during a recent school groundbreaking in Malawi. The pop star got her hands dirty when she dug up some soil at the site for a new girls academy she is building.

With her eldest daughter Lourdes at her side, Madonna cut cake, planted a tree and turned sod at a ceremony which drew 1,000 locals. "After seeing all the hard working Malawian women who are looking after families and communities, I realized how much they deserve to be educated," said Madonna.

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According to a brochure for the Raising Malawi Girls Academy, it will be a "leadership institution to prepare future women leaders" with 500 boarders from each of the country's 28 districts. The school is modeled on the academy Oprah Winfrey set up in South Africa. It will take two years to build.

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With two of her children-Mercy James and David Banda- having been adopted from Malawi, Madonna has been committed to aiding the impoverished country. She has already built a multi-purpose community center which looks after nearly 8,000 orphans.

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