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Madonna’s charity begins schools work

MONDAY, JAN. 30, 2012

Nearly six years after it was created, Madonna’s Raising Malawi charity is set to break ground on the construction of schools in the impoverished country, but they will be run by the local community, not the superstar’s organization.

According to organizers, work on the first school will start on March 30 in the Kasungu area, about 80 miles from the capital of Lilongwe, and all of the schools should be built by June 2013. Raising Malawi is providing $300,000 to the non-governmental organization buildOn to develop the schools. They’ll serve about 1,000 boys and girls in the southern African nation.

“This remains a very big priority in my life and I am excited that with the help of buildOn we can maintain our ongoing commitment to move forward efficiently,” Madonna said in a statement.

Trevor Neilson, who is helping to direct the project as partner of the Global Philanthropy Group, praised Madonna for sticking with her plan to build schools for Malawi’s children despite several setbacks for the star. Madonna, who is the director of the new movie “W.E.,” out next week, and is this year’s Super Bowl performer, has adopted two children from Malawi.

Segel garners Pudding pot, roast

Actor Jason Segel can add a Hasty Pudding pot award to his career highlights.

Harvard University’s Hasty Pudding Theatricals has named Segel its Man of Year.

The student group is the nation’s oldest undergraduate drama troupe. It will host a parade and roast for Segel on Feb. 3.

Segel got his start in the short-lived but critically acclaimed television series “Freaks and Geeks.”

He later wrote and starred in the 2008 movie “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” which earned more than $100 million worldwide. And he co-wrote and starred in last year’s “The Muppets.”

He plays Marshall Eriksen on the CBS comedy “How I Met Your Mother.”

Last year, Jay Leno won the Hasty Pudding award, which recognizes outstanding entertainers.

Actress Claire Danes has been named this year’s Woman of the Year.

The birthday bunch

Actor Gene Hackman is 82. Actress Tammy Grimes is 78. Actress Vanessa Redgrave is 75. Country singer Jeanne Pruett is 75. Singer Marty Balin (Jefferson Airplane/Jefferson Starship) is 70. Musician Phil Collins is 61. Actor Charles S. Dutton (“Roc”) is 61. Country singer Tammy Cochran is 40. Actor Christian Bale is 38. Actor Wilmer Valderrama is 32. Actor Jake Thomas (“Lizzie McGuire”) is 22.


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