25 APRIL 2008

An unexpected phonecall set Madonna on a life-changing mission of mercy to Malawi, the African country from which the queen of pop would eventually adopt a child. This week the singer presented I Am Because We Are, the documentary she produced after Malawian businesswoman Victoria Keelan called, begging her to help the nation's impoverished AIDS orphans.

"She said it was a state of emergency," Madonna explains in the film, which she presented at New York's Tribeca film festival this week. "She sounded exhausted and on the verge of tears. I asked her how I could help.

"Victoria said: "You're a person with resources. People pay attention to what you say and do." I felt embarrassed. I told her I didn't know where Malawi was. She told me to look it up on a map," recounts the 4 Minutes star.

In one of the most personal segments of the film, Madonna recalls the moment she first set eyes on her adoptive son David Banda, who was being cared for at an orphanage.

"If I was challenging other people to open up their hearts, then I had to stand at the front of the line," reveals the pop dynamo, who has two other children. "I decided to try and adopt him."

Photo: ©
As well as making I Am Because We Are, a documentary about the plight of African orphans, the Material Girl has also established a foundation to aid the country's children called Raising MalawiPhoto: © Getty Images
Photo: ©
During the course of filming the documentary one little boy, David Banda (above), made such an impact on the singer she decided to take him into the home she shares with husband Guy and their two children Lourdes and RoccoPhoto: © AFP
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