Posts Tagged ‘Madonna Malawi’

Celebrities Boosting Tourism

Malawi Sunset

Malawi Sunset

I suppose it makes perfect sense, but it is a facet of the tourism industry I had not thought much about: Celebrities traveling to, and staking a philanthropic or charitable claim in, a destination can lead to a huge boon in tourism. Madonna, it was recently reported, is considered largely, though certainly not entirely, responsible for the 181% increase of tourism to Malawi in the past seven years–a number that outpaces the region as well as the entire rest of the world. Her repeated and very public visits there over the years, her work building schools, her adoption of two children from the impoverished nation…all of it has put Malawi on the map for curious international travelers, and visitor numbers have skyrocketed.

The BBC report I saw also discussed Prince Harry‘s visit and establishment of a charity in Lesotho leading to a sharp spike in vacations planned there. Angelina Jolie‘s activism and dedication to local communities is credited with a large influence on the nearly 400% growth of tourism to Cambodia over the past several years since her very public early visits in 2000, also building her family  through adoption.

Say what you will about celebrity, but bringing attention to vital issues, and somehow influencing curious vacationers to spend money in destinations whose economies are aching for an influx, seems like a very good thing.

I just thought that was kind of cool…

Madonna Quietly Follows Through

After some rough patches with her foundation: bad land choices displacing and upsetting local communities, corruption amid the staff hired to do the foundation’s groundwork, abandoning her Girls’ Academy…she has come through, quietly, without much fanfare, and completed building ten schools in Malawi this year. Nearly 5,000 children will now receive their primary education through the schools that exist because of her. The communities where the schools were built (6 months ahead of schedule, by the way) were carefully chosen because they were in need of infrastructure. When you imagine that UNICEF estimates about a quarter of young boys in Malawi, and only about 16% of girls, complete their primary-level educations—due to long distances to travel to the schools and general poverty—building up these particular communities takes on even more significance.

This terrific commitment and accomplishment was achieved as a partnership between Madonna’s Raising Malawi charity (already funding millions of dollars toward the nation’s orphan populations and facilities) and BuildOn.

Discover volunteer opportunities with Raising Malawi here.