The Amazing Story of Shakira's Award At The World Economic Forum In Davos

By James Mills, Associate Partner & Mentorship Coach, Lighthouse International

We feel more passionate about making a difference when we open ourselves and others to the reality of the challenges faced by people around the world.

Shakira is the Colombian-born singer, songwriter, dancer and record producer who has sold more than 70 million records worldwide. Throughout her career she has received numerous awards for her music, but at this year's World Economic Forum in Davos she will be receiving a different typt of award - in front of political and business leaders...

Shakira will be receiving the Crystal Award, an award that recognises recipients for their 'commitment to advancing inclusive progress on issues such as peace-making, social inclusion, education, health, food security and sustainability'. The reason she is receiving this award is because of her passionate advocacy for early childhood education. Back in 1997, when she was aged just 18, she founded the Pies Descalzos (Barefoot) Foundation - which has built and runs six pioneering schools in Colombia, which are focused on educating displaced and disadvantaged children. She is also a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador campaigning for the rights of some of the most vulnerable children in the world.

"Fame isolates people from reality. That happens to many artists, and I don't want it to happen to me."

- Shakira

So what was the motivation for her starting her foundation at such a young age before she achieved global stardom? Well, it came through a powerful childhood experience that she recalled during an interview with the Telegraph in 2009. She was an only child and leading a comfortable middle-class life, when suddenly, aged 8 years old her family's fortunes took a turn for the worse due to the bankruptcy of her father's business.

"He sent me and my mother to stay with relatives in Los Angeles so he could liquidate things, and when we came back he had sold all our furniture, our colour television and both cars, and we had no air-conditioning. The new reality was a shock to me, so my parents decided to take me to the park where orphans were sniffing glue to put my situation in perspective. I remember it so vividly: I made myself a promise that one day I would, one, vindicate my parents’ social and economic situation and, two, do something about those kids. That image of those kids that day in the park has never left my mind."

It was soon after this powerful, paradigm-shifting experience that she wrote her first song and managed to secure her first record deal, aged 13.

How Shakira's Experience Transformed Her Outlook On Life

What stands out massively is how Shakira's parents' response to Shakira when she reacted to the business failure... actually helped their daughter to take responsibility for her own life, and also the suffering of the vulnerable. When we open ourselves up to the reality of the state of the world around us, it can often transform our whole view of ourselves and the world around us. At a young age, Shakira was exposed to something that then motivated her for the rest of her life. She now had something more than pure success driving her...   she wanted to be successful - so she could help others! Shakira's philanthropic work has helped to keep her grounded, and her impact on the world will only increase as through her career she becomes more successful! In our world this is what we need more and more - people who want to be successful because they want to be of benefit to our human and animal family, and earthly home.

You can read more about Shakira's story in this Telegraph article and more about her award on the World Economic Forum site.

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