|© UNICEF El Salvador/2006|
|UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and singer-songwriter Shakira (centre) greeted Salvadoran students who marched against violence. Also on hand were Salvadoran Vice President Ana Vilma de Escobar (left) and UNICEF Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean Nils Kastberg (second from right).|
By Sabine Dolan
NEW YORK, USA, 7 November 2006 – At San Salvador’s Sports Palace, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and singer-songwriter Shakira greeted thousands of Salvadoran students who took part in a march against violence on Sunday.
“I am very glad to see you all gathered here, knowing that many of you, walking on the streets of your city since early morning, are already taking the first steps towards a better future for El Salvador,” she said.
Earlier in the day, more than 8,000 children and adolescents – including 6,000 students and 2,300 scouts – marched in the streets of El Salvador’s capital city as part of a UNICEF campaign to protect children from violence.
The march took place in the wake of the UN Secretary-General’s Study on Violence Against Children, which was released internationally in October and is now being launched regionally in Latin America and the Caribbean.
According to the study, El Salvador currently ranks among the countries with the highest levels of social violence in the world.
|© UNICEF El Salvador/2006|
|At San Salvador’s Sports Palace, Shakira helped to launch the ‘Make the Difference by Not Being Indifferent’ campaign to protect children from violence.|
Rallying under the slogan ‘Make the Difference by Not Being Indifferent’, the young anti-violence campaigners at the Sports Palace kicked off a series of regional activities designed to promote peace. Shakira, a Latin Grammy Award winner who grew up in Colombia, told them she had a unique understanding of the plight of young people in poor nations.
“I come from a difficult country and thus know and understand what happens to Salvadoran youth,” she said, “because I know what it’s like to grow up in a country where many believe there is no better future and choose unlawfulness and violence, feeling it is the only way.”
Role of education
Shakira, who was appointed as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 2003, also emphasized the important role of education in fighting violence and poverty.
“Violence is one of the principal reasons why children don’t go to school. It’s also one of the causes of the alarming school dropout rates,” she said.
The pop star ended the day’s events on a hopeful note. “We only have one life to live,” Shakira told her youthful audience. “Let’s live it with dignity, and I invite you, starting today, to make a difference.”
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Protecting Comorian children from sexual violence [with video]
Media projects for Moldovan youth offenders [with video]
The following external links open in a new window.
Violence through the eyes of young people [with video]