Madonna's mission with Mercy as she returns to Malawi to lay first brick of a new £10million girls' school
By Katherine Faulkner
Last updated at 8:05 PM on 6th April 2010
It was a poignant moment, but the significance of which may not be recognised by the four-year-old girl adopted by Madonna at just this moment.
Mercy James joined her mother and sister Lourdes as she returned to Malawi for the ceremony to lay the first brick for the foundations of a £10million school for girls in the impoverished country.
The brick had the inscription Raising Malawi Academy for Girls and the motto Dare to Dream etched into it.
Landmark moment: Madonna puts the cement mix down as she attends the first brick laying of the Raising Malawi Academy for Girls
School's out: The pop queen has donated millions to Malawi
'It has always been my dream to train women leaders who can help develop the country,' Madonna said during the event.
The ceremony, held at the site of the school in Chinkhota village, some 15 kilometres (nine miles) from the capital Lilongwe, was attended by education officials and curious villagers.
'I grew up as a poor girl with my mother, I had no chance for good education. It is my aim to see Malawian girls get the right education,' Madonna said.
Raising Mercy: Madonna returned to Malawi with daughter Mercy to unveil a water pump and lay the first brick on the £10million girl's school she is building
Yesterday the pop queen marked the unveiling a new water pump in the Mchinji district of Malawi as part of her charity tour.
And her healthy presence at the event, in a crisp red summer dress and pristine white sandals, was a sign of how far she has come in the months since her adoption.
Cuddling up to her mother, and then her sister, Lourdes, 13, Mercy later watched as her adopted mother pumped fresh water into a bucket to the delight of locals in the district where adopted brother David, four, was born.
Prodigal daughter: Mercy, a daughter of Malawi returned to witness her mother's efforts in the country where she was born
Madonna has given millions to the impoverished country, where four in ten live on less than a dollar a day.
Dressed in heavy black boots, the pop queen lent a hand at the UN-backed Millenium Village in the southeast African republic's capital LiLongwe.
Today she will lay the first brick of her £10million school, Raising Malawi Academy for Girls.
Mission: Economist Professor Jeffrey Sachs, special advisor to the UN Secretary General, addresses the audience as Madonna, Mercy and Lourdes listen in