11.16.2007

Madonna, Gucci team up for Malawi charity gig

Madonna, Gucci team up for Malawi charity gig

NEW YORK, Nov 15 (Reuters Life!) - Madonna is joining forces with
luxury goods maker Gucci to raise funds for orphans in Malawi, from
where she has been trying to adopt a child since last year.

The U.S. singer and Gucci will host a fundraising event with dinner,
musical performance and a party on Feb. 6 next year to mark the
opening of Gucci's largest store in the world, on New York's Fifth
Avenue.

Madonna said the event will benefit UNICEF and the charity she co-
founded in 2006, Raising Malawi, which focuses on trying to end the
poverty and hardship suffered by Malawi's one million orphans, many of
whose parents died of AIDS.

"I am grateful that Gucci is joining forces with me to bring attention
to a country with millions of children in desperate need of our help,"
Madonna said in a statement.

"Raising Malawi has already done tremendous work in helping these
children. But we have much more to do and this event will surely bring
us closer to our goal."

Madonna and her husband Guy Ritchie's bid to adopt David Banda from
Malawi has hit several stumbling blocks since they took the 13-month-
old boy from the African country last year. He had been placed in an
orphanage by his father after the death of his mother.

Rights groups have accused Madonna of using her fame and wealth to
circumvent the country's adoption rules although the singer has
insisted she is following the law.

Malawi's High Court is to hold a hearing next year into whether
Madonna and Ritchie are suitable parents and should adopt the child.

The New York event is expected to raise at least $2 million with
Madonna joined by a list of celebrity co-chairs in the event including
Adrien Brody, Arpad Busson, Salma Hayek and Francois-Henri Pinault,
Tea Leoni, Lucy Liu, Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher and Gwyneth
Paltrow.

Gucci, which is owned by French retailer PPR , has been a
UNICEF corporate partner since 2004.

Caryl Stern, president and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, thanked
Madonna and Gucci and said AIDS remained one of the most devastating
public health problems in recent history.

"Every day, 6,000 children lose a parent to AIDS, and 1,400 children
die from AIDS," Stern said in the statement.

from REUTERS.com