DOHA, Qatar —
Two well-known celebrities outlined new efforts underway through their individual foundations to improve the economic and educational outcomes for youngsters throughout the world.
Grammy award-winning sensation Shakira Mebarak, whose known simply by her first name, told the more than 3,000 delegates at the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) that her charity—The Barefoot Foundation— has built schools in rural areas of her native Colombia, to provide learning opportunities for poor children.
“Most of you may know me as an artist, as an entertainer, and that’s indeed my calling and what I have been doing since I was 13-years-old,” said Mebarak who addressed the opening plenary on Thursday morning. “But I never would have imagined when I started out that my work as an artist would end up being the vehicle for me to serve my greater purpose in life of working toward eradicating poverty through the power of education.”
Too many children in Colombia, Mebarak said, are born into a society where “a few have a lot, a lot have almost nothing, and if you’re born poor, you will almost certainly die poor.”
Too many individuals, she charged, do not have access to equal opportunities, “and because of that, generation after generation, after generation live trapped in the same vicious cycle fed by prejudice, and inaction,” she added.
As a youngster, Mebarak recounted watching many of her peers turn away from school because they lacked needed resources. She pledged that once she acquired wealth “the first thing I wanted to do was to invest as many resources as I could into what would later become the most meaningful project of my life, working for children,” she said, “to help right the wrongs that I had witnessed my entire childhood. ”
The “Hips Don’t Lie” singer said that “facts don’t lie and numbers show what an incredible return on investment a quality education provides,” she said.
Her appearance at the WISE Summit, now in its 10th year, was yet another indication of the organization’s global reach. In 2015, Mic
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