Shakira wins 2020 Global Literacy Award
April 21, 2020
World Literacy Foundation announces that Shakira wins 2020 Global Literacy Award for her significant contribution to literacy

The World Literacy Foundation is honored to award Shakira for her significant contribution to the improvement of literacy for disadvantaged children around the world. The award was announced at the World Literacy Summit.

Shakira's success as a musical artist and performer has brought her great achievement since she first appeared in the limelight in 1990. Crowned with 3 Grammy Awards and 12 Latin Grammy Awards, and recognized as one of the highest-selling Colombian pop artists of all time, her exceptional talent has landed her several achievements. While her success in the music and performance industry has taken the world by storm, her support for children's literacy and education has only improved and gained traction over the years. Shakira's philanthropy endeavors began shortly after the singer found international success, then providing her a platform to make a widespread impact.

Recognizing a lack of support in the education system in her home country of Colombia, Shakira took efforts into her hands, founding Pies Descalzos Foundation in 1997, building the first school in her home town Barranquilla, Colombia. 

"I grew up in the developing world, I grew up seeing injustice in education, I decided to make a change" - Shakira, Pies Descalzos Foundation

"We face a global literacy crisis with 91% of children in the world not attending school" - World Literacy Foundation CEO Andrew Kay

770 million people cannot read a single word, while another 2 billion people struggle to read a full sentence. Illiteracy is a global crisis, and the World Literacy Foundation aims to educate people on the benefit of acquiring even basic literacy skills. The cycle begins with a child struggling to read, professing into an adult who struggles with literacy and as a result becomes a victim of issues relating to unemployment, welfare, crime, and wellbeing.

Andrew Kay, CEO of the World Literacy Foundation, explains that this award aims to celebrate Shakira's valuable contribution to education by acknowledging the challenges faced by disadvantaged students, globally.

Mr. Kay said, "In the current crisis, literacy has never been more important with the disadvantaged lacking access to books and educational resources. Today, 91% of children are not currently attending school, nor do they have access to online learning resources. As a result, it is likely that education enrolments are likely to fall in the coming months, and many will be faced with unfortunate circumstances."

This award is presented by the World Literacy Council, along with other awards presented to individuals and initiatives around the world for their contributions to global education.

About the World Literacy Summit (WLS) 

The online World Literacy Summit brings together leaders from 85 countries representing over two-thirds of the world's population, and all with a single focus – advocating, championing and educating on the vital importance of improving literacy levels across the globe. For more information about the WLS please visit

About the World Literacy Foundation (WLF)

The WLF strives to ensure that every young individual, regardless of geographic location, has the opportunity to acquire literacy and reading skills to reach their full potential, succeed at school and beyond. The WLF works to provide free access to quality education materials and innovative solutions that target wide-scale illiteracy. Please visit for more information.

David Perrin, CEO of the World Literacy Summit, talks #literacypower

Shakira: "Education is not a luxury"


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