Madonna's charity Raising Malawi is launching a new book – I Am Because We Are – and an online auction on April 2nd to benefit children in Malawi, a country of only 13 million people, yet home to over 1 million AIDS orphans.

The auction will kick off with the release of I Am Because We Are, a poignant new book of images and testimonials of AIDS orphans and their families by award-winning photojournalist Kristen Ashburn. The book features images taken by Ashburn for Madonna’s feature documentary of the same name as well as her work documenting the pandemic throughout southern Africa over the last decade. All author proceeds from the book sales and the auction will go to Raising Malawi and The Raising Malawi Academy for Girls.

“It never ceases to amaze me that there is a complete disconnect between our daily lives and the severity of the pandemic in Africa,” says photographer Ashburn, whose large black and white portraits of AIDS orphans and struggling families will be displayed at the event.

With the global financial crisis taking a heavy toll on sources of funding that sustain the work of charities in Africa, the new I Am Because We Are book campaign seeks to expand that base. The book raises awareness of the crisis by introducing readers to the stories of children living with the effects of HIV/AIDS, and acts as a fundraising tool, because with each book sold, money goes to Raising Malawi.

“This book is a call to action,” says singer, songwriter John Legend.

An April 2nd book launch event at PowerHouse Arena in Dumbo, Brooklyn, will kick-off the book and the online auction. The collection of items on auction will include a number of one-of-a-kind items contributed by Madonna and her inner circle. The bidding begins April 2 on eBay , and remains open to a global audience through April 12. The auction can be accessed here.

In addition, a photo exhibition of Ashburn’s work is open to the public at the PowerHouse Arena throughout the month of April. More information about the book can be found at

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