Madonna dismisses 'reckless' claims she is 'ripping heart out of Africa

Madonna dismisses 'reckless' claims she is 'ripping heart out of Africa'

Madonna has hit out at claims that she is "ripping the heart out of Africa" by adopting children from the continent.

The singer, along with the actress Angelina Jolie, was the subject of criticism from Mozambique-born supermodel Tasha de Vasconcelos.

Ms de Vasconcelos, who was forced to flee to Canada after the outbreak of civil war in her country of birth, said: "You don't take a child out of Africa. If you want to help them, you help them inside their country."

She added: "This is why I do not advocate adoption out of Africa to a Hollywood lifestyle, as Madonna and Angelina Jolie have done."

But a spokesman for Madonna, who has adopted two children from Africa, called the comments "reckless".

"Her children are thriving and well cared-for and are certainly being educated about their culture and where they came from," the spokesman added.

It is rumoured that Madonna was inspired to adopt from Africa after a conversation with Jolie, who adopted Ethiopian baby Zahara Marley to her family in 2005.

Ms de Vasconcelos, who was recently made an honorary consul for the G8 to help bridge the gap between Europe and Africa, also attacked Madonna and Jolie for "throwing money" at Africa without getting involved on the ground.

Her charity Amor is set to open an eye clinic in Malawi this year, the charity's second such project.

She said: "They don't know how it is to be an African. In a tribe there's a chief, he's got a community. You have to respect the chief first, then meet with the elders.

"You have to become close to the people on the ground: the ministers, the chief of the village, the people who are running the projects on the ground, and that means being hands-on. It is not enough just to send cheques."

Madonna's Raising Malawi project has been criticised repeatedly, most recently for claiming to have built 10 schools, improving the lives of 4,800 children in rural areas.

Malawi's education minister, Eunice Kazembe, has said that the project "only built 10 classrooms blocks".

The claim was refuted by Raising Malawi.

Ms Jolie has been a goodwill ambassador for the UN for more than a decade, becoming a special envoy in 2012.

She has also won numerous awards for her humanitarian work. She has not responded to Ms de Vasconcelos's comments