Financial dysfunction has caused Madonna to abandon plans to build a girls school in the African nation of Malawi, The New York Times reports. An audit shows that $3.8 million was spent before any construction on the $15 million school had even began, which has led Madonna and her manager to take control of the foundation Raising Malawi and remove executive director Phillipe van den Bossche and school leader Anjimile Oponyo from the project.

A severe mismanagement of funds has left the foundation without key resources, as almost $4 million was reportedly spent in design fees, staff salaries, free housing and Oponyo's personal golf course membership. Prior to the recent change in leadership, Madonna sought guidance from the Global Philanthropy Group. "Philippe's level of mismanagement and lack of oversight was extreme in both aspects of the project and the lack of success of the players on the ground is in large part a result of his inability to effectively manage project plans, people and finances," the group told the Times.

Madonna has long been a supporter of the underprivileged southeastern African nation, giving $11 million of her own money and generating donations from fellow celebrities like Tom Cruise and Gwyneth Paltrow and the Los Angeles-based Kabbalah Centre International. The singer has been committed to working with Malawi, making frequent visits to the proposed site of the school, and adopting two children from the African country. Despite the set back, she remains committed to helping children in Malawi. “There’s a real education crisis in Malawi,” Madonna said in a statement to the Times. “Sixty-seven percent of girls don’t go to secondary school, and this is simply unacceptable. Our team is going to work hard to address this in every way we can.” —EMILY EXTON


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