SEATTLE, Washington — Celebrities are known for bringing attention to significant events such as movie premieres and award shows. However, some bring awareness to issues and situations experienced in developing countries. One of the most notable of those celebrities is an internationally recognized singer from Colombia named Shakira. Shakira’s philanthropy work is helping children in many ways.
Shakira’s philanthropy work began after the singer found international success. She recognized there was a problem with the education system in her home country of Colombia. She decided to take efforts into her hands to support the need. Shakira created the Pies Descalzos (Barefeet) foundation in 1997 when she built the first school in her home town Barranquilla, Colombia.
She wanted to create a foundation based on her concerns about the vulnerability of children and the conditions of education. In 2003, UNICEF named Shakira Goodwill Ambassador for her work with Pies Descalzos. A UNICEF Ambassador is a celebrity who exhibit a drive for improving the lives of children across the globe.
The ALAS Foundation
Shakira’s Philanthropy work became collaborative In another project called the ALAS Foundation, also known as the Latin American for Solidarity Foundation. She and several leaders worked to create policy change focused on improving early-childhood education. Founded in Panama, the organization works to improve early childhood education in various countries throughout Latin America and the Carribean.
Five million children in Colombia suffer from malnutrition. More than four times that number do not have access to education. These two factors Hicombined are found to be the most significant factors that impact the likelihood of recurring poverty in a family. The ALAS Foundation focuses on addressing issues such as early education, health, family support and nutrition as they are four important factors that impact childhood development.
Shakira’s Philanthropy Work in Peru
On August 15, 2007, Peru was struck by an 8.0 earthquake that shook the country for two minutes. More than 300 people died in the earthquake. The faultline where the quake originated has been the location of earthquakes of similar strength from previous decades. This earthquake leveled around 70 percent of the city of Pisco.
A few weeks later, Hurricane Felix would impact Nicaragua, ranking as a category five scale. After hearing about both instances, Shakira shared that she would donate $40 million to relief efforts to helping in both countries. The donation would come from Latin American for Solidarity Foundation. At the same event, Shakira also announced that she would be donating another $5 million to these areas to benefit education projects throughout Latin America.
Often in the media, we may see celebrities providing charitable donations following a natural disaster or some crowd-funding around an unfortunate cause. However, Shakira’s philanthropy work aims at much more. She has continued to show support and concern for improving the lives of communities in Latin America, especially those where children and education are involved. Shakira fights to make better communities and give access to valuable resources to those who otherwise would lack access. She also expresses that the issue of global poverty is not seasonal or a rare occurrence but a fight that can be fought by anyone, for any reason.
– Kimberly Debnam