Udaipur, Nov 18: Grammy winning-pop artist, Shakira met a group of adolescent schoolgirls from impoverished parts of India in Udaipur on Tuesday (15 NOV.) evening as part of her role as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.
While in Udaipur, she also performed at a private function on Lake Pichola.
Shakira was given a traditional welcome upon her arrival at the State Institute of Education Research and Training.
Teenage girls dressed in traditional attire marked her forehead with vermilion and put marigold garlands around her neck.
Shakira responded by saying “Shukriya” (thank you) and “Namaste” (hello).
She then interacted with 13 girls from the Kasturba Gandhi Ballika Vidyalaya residential educational programme.
The girls come from areas where the literacy level is around 5 per cent for women and 20 per cent for men.
In a statement later the singer said, “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.”
According to a UNICEF press release, the value of a female child for an Indian family is generally low, leading to boys being valued over girls, from nutritional intake to getting an education, and girls dropping out of school in order to look after the household.
In addition, the school environment is often not conducive for girls, including the lack of sanitation facilities.
The residential education programme addresses the need for education for the most disadvantaged girls who are marginalized and often difficult to reach.
Shakira called for a collective push to ensure that girls have the ability, support and availability to get a quality education.
Although progress is being made, in India almost 40 per cent of young girls in the ages of 14 to 17 are out of school.
Shakira left Udaipur on Wednesday morning (16 Nov.)