The 46-year-old said that by taking children away, the celebrities are ripping the heart out of Africa, reported The Independent. "There is something inside me that cries every day for not being in the place where I was born," said Vasconcelos, whose family fled civil war in Mozambique when she was 10.
"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. It is not enough just to send cheques," she said. Vasconcelos, who grew up in Canada and is now based in London.
"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," Vasconcelos said. Unless foreigners are willing to get involved on the ground, Vasconcelos added, they are doing everyone involved a disservice.
"People such as Madonna don't understand. They don't know how it is to be an African. In a tribe there's a chief, he's got a community. You have to respect the chief first, then meet with the elders," she said.
"I can't say how important it is that you don't take the children out. You help them there because you cannot imagine how much it is to lose your country," Vasconcelos added. A spokeswoman for Madonna said the comments were "reckless".