Mozambique-born model-turned-humanitarian Tasha de Vasconcelos has hit out at celebrities like Angelina Jolie and Madonna for adopting children from Africa rather than donating the money and time needed to help them survive in their own country.
“There is something inside me that cries every day for not being in the place where I was born,” she tells The Independent about her family fleeing Mozambique when she was ten years old after a civil war broke out. “That’s how I truly know that you don’t take a child out of Africa. If you want to help them, you help them inside their country.”
The 46-year-old, who grew up in Canada and is now based in London, spoke out as she prepares to open an eye clinic in Malawi through Amor – a charity she launched in 2006.
She added that Madonna and Angelina are “ripping the heart” out of Africa by “throwing money” at problems there and taking the children away to be raised in Hollywood.
She said: “As a refugee I have experienced the impact of leaving behind cousins, family members, grandparents and, most of all, the land we all love. This is why I do not advocate adoption out of Africa to a Hollywood lifestyle, as Madonna and Angelina Jolie have done.”
Whilst a spokesperson for Madonna has slammed her comments as “reckless”, I totally agree with what Tasha de Vasconcelos says.
Madonna and Angelina are both trying to help the countries that they have adopted their children from by building schools and opening various charitable foundations based there.
And, whilst I do think their intentions behind adopting from abroad were largely good, there’s clearly an element of self-promotion at hand here.
It comes off as “Look at me! aren’t I great! I adopted a kid from Africa!” but once home, do they have the time to devote to giving that child all it needs emotionally to adjust to its new life?
With their careers and their other children demanding the lion’s share of their time, I’m not convinced that either woman is able to ensure that they instil the sense of security into their adopted children that would help ease the clawing sense of abandonment that all kids who’ve been adopted wrestle with throughout their lives.
Is it better for a child to be raised by nannies employed by a wealthy American celebrity and spend their time flying between five-star residences around the world on a private jet or for them to grow up amongst their friends and families in the countries they were born in, with the money for their upbringing being channeled there for education, healthcare and the means to feed themselves?
Are Pax, Maddox and Zahara Jolie-Pitt and Davey Banda and Mercy James happier now than they would have been had they been raised in better conditions in Vietnam, Cambodia, Ethiopia and Malawi respectively?
It’d be easy to dig out a series of photographs of them looking miserable and post them when in fact, time, and they themselves in another fifteen years or so will tell.
But in the meantime, thanks to Jameson- we have this.