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Madonna’s pledge for female education in Pakistan

June 03, 2013

This image provided by Sotheby’s shows “Three Women at the Red Table” by Fernand Leger which was offered at Sotheby’s for sale in May. Pop diva Madonna is parting with the abstract French painting she’s owned for more than 20 years to support girls’ education in Afghanistan, Pakistan and other countries. -AP Photo

The shooting of Malala Yousufzai made front-page news around the world last year, and the after-effects of that include the attention of several important and famous figures on the state of female education in Pakistan.

In April this year, film star Angelina Jolie initiated a fund for school girls’ education in Pakistan. The first grant will provide funding for forty girls in the country.

But Jolie is not the only one to have shown interest – last week, pop icon and music legend Madonna pledged money for expanding a school in a poverty-stricken area outside Karachi. The school is run by young Humeira Bachal, and is reportedly the only school (public or private) in that locality.

Jolie and Madonna are just a few examples of the outpouring of celebrity support Malala has received. Other celebrities have often take up different philanthropic causes around the world – Actor Sean Penn has also raised a voice for flood relief efforts in Pakistan.

Many, however, criticise such efforts, highlighting that the hype around celebrity support isn’t necessarily accompanied by sincere efforts to eradicate poverty or address a particular social issue. Other criticisms include that such announcement of philanthropy serve more as ‘good PR’ for the celebrities rather than the cause itself.

On the other hand, it can be argued that the more famous a person associated with a charitable cause, the more likely it is that their endorsement will attract funding. The publicity that comes with celebrities can lead to more money for a cause as well its efficient execution in a transparent manner.

Do you think celebrity endorsement contributes positively to philanthropic causes? Or is the enlistment of people like Jolie and Madonna merely a way to boost their own publicity with little substantial improvement happening on the ground in the countries where they’ve pledged support?

Dawn.com invites its readers to share their views.