Shakira has been advocating for education for a long time, from her trip to the Israeli Presidential Conference in Jerusalem to talk about “Education for Peace”, to donating $400,000 to a school in Haiti. Now, the UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador recently traveled to India to meet with adolescent girls and discuss the importance of education.
According to Look To The Stars, Shakira met a group of girls from the Kasturba Gandhi Ballika vidalaya (KGBV) residential education program and talked about education and empowering girls to end poverty and inequality. The singer says, “My interaction with these adolescent girls was energizing and inspiring. It only reminded me, once again, that girls are a precious resource of intellectual and physical ability – a resource that can help to further society. They need the chance to be educated and empowered.” KGBV tries to reach India’s impoverished girls with education and support, as often boys are given advantages in terms of education and girls often drop out to take care of their households. Shakira said, “For too many girls, the basic human right to education is denied. Yet, educating adolescent girls and ensuring their participation in decision-making that affects them plays a significant role in enhancing their sense of self-worth.”
According to UNICEF, the girls that Shakira met comes from areas with literacy levels of “around 5 per cent for women and some 20 per cent for men,” and in India “almost 40 per cent of young girls in the ages of 14 to 17 are out of school.”