Madonna came to Malawi in 2006 and adopted David Banda, a 13-months-old baby who became an instant child celebrity.

Three years later, she adopted another child –Mercy Jamesi- and riled child activists who accused her of peddling influence to circumvent local laws which prohibited foreigners not resident in the country from adopting children.

The same year, she announced she was going to build an elite academy for poor girls – good news in a country where only 33 percent of girls attend secondary school.

About 3.1 million children in Malawi are growing in violent homes, witnessing and experiencing its negative effects, Minister of Gender, Child and Community Development Reen Kachere said yesterday

Kachere made the stunning disclosure when she inaugurated the Day of Prayer and Action for child development in Lilongwe on Thursday.

She said that apart from the 3.1 million, one in three girls aged between 15 to 19 are married and one in four children are experiencing child labour.