PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) - Colombian pop star Shakira pledged $400,000 on Thursday to help rebuild a school for girls in Haiti that was severely damaged during the country’s devastating earthquake last year.
The Grammy award winner and songwriter announced the contribution during a visit to the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince, where she danced and sang with students of the Elie Dubois public school.
“I’m convinced the key to achieve a dignified future for the Haitian people is through education,” Shakira said.
The students sang her World Cup hit “Waka Waka”
The star was accompanied by the head of the Inter-American Development Bank, Luis Alberto Moreno. The Washington-based multilateral lender plans to match Shakira’s contribution in the school rebuilding effort.
The school, housed in a nearly 100-year-old building, suffered significant damage during Haiti’s January 12, 2010 earthquake that killed more than 300,000 people in one of the world’s poorest states.
More than a year later, its walls and ceilings show huge cracks that have forced more than 200 students to study in a nearby building.
Local officials said they hope classes can resume at the school in October.
“I’d like to say to the girls that this is an enormous opportunity that life is offering you — education,” Shakira said. “So make the most of it because I’m sure you can achieve any of your dreams.”
Reporting by Joseph Guyler Delva; Writing by Kevin Gray; Editing by Pascal Fletcher and Anthony Boadle