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When I discovered that over a million children were orphaned by AIDS, living in one of the poorest countries in Africa, I felt an overwhelming sense of responsibility to get involved and do what I could to help bring awareness to the situation.

Madonna and President of Malawi, Peter Mutharika. November 2014.

Madonna and Dr. Eric Borgstein, Chief of Pediatric Surgery at Queen Elizabeth Hospital. November 2014

In 2006, Madonna established Raising Malawi with the goal of improving children's lives in Malawi. Filmed by Nathan Rissman, I AM BECAUSE WE ARE profiles eight Malawian orphans and interviews world figures -- including former President Bill Clinton and the Rev. Dr. Desmond Tutu -- who are leading ongoing relief efforts in the country.

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There is a great deal of hardship in Malawi, but I also see great opportunity, resilience, and joy—even in the face of extreme poverty.
— Madonna

Having endured years of colonial rule, Malawi has enjoyed a relatively stable government since achieving independence from the United Kingdom in 1964. The capital city, Lilongwe, is second in population only to Blantyre.


Malawi is a tiny landlocked nation situated between Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique in central sub-Saharan Africa. One of the most densely populated countries on the continent, it is home to over 16 million people whose primary vocation is subsistence agriculture.

Malawi is known as the “Warm Heart of Africa” for its people’s generous spirit and warm hospitality. Malawians have a rich and vibrant culture. Their love of music is passed down in song and dance from generation to generation. Visiting westerners never fail to remark on the kindness and resiliency exhibited by Malawians, even in the face of their greatest adversity.