Madonna is giving back to the country that gave her David, her son, in a big way by building an eco-friendly academy for girls in Malawi’s capital city, Lilongwe. Through her non-profit organization, Raising Malawi, the pop star has collected funds and donated some of her own in order to build the solar powered, eco-friendly academy, which will accommodate 450 girls when it’s completed in 2012. StudioMDA, out of New York, designed the school and hopes it can become the standard for education and new sustainable construction in the region.
The Raising Malawi Academy for Girls consists of 46 hectares and will have a library and administration building, dining hall, gymnasium, wellness center, sports field, 30 classrooms, 12 dormitories and 18 staff houses. The design was centered around optimizing natural daylighting and ventilation to minimize energy use and take advantage of the natural site conditions. Mostly constructed out of locally sourced Hydraform bricks, which are made from on-site soil, the builders can avoid using “burned bricks which have been largely responsible for wide spread deforestation in Malawi.”
The entire gymnasium roof will be covered in photovoltaic panels to help supply the school with power. Meanwhile two constructed wetlands will process the black and grey water from the campus for reuse as irrigation water for the playing field. An educational agricultural area will then help teach the students about the different arable areas in Malawi as well as developing the future of sustainable agriculture in the country.
Madonna helped kick off the start of construction herself in October with a ribbon cutting ceremony, where she also planted a Moringa tree, which is known as the “miracle tree” for its many cures for diseases. Also on hand was President Bingu wa Mutharika and hundreds of children from nearby orphanages that Madonna also supports. The school is set to be completed in 2012.