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| 12/9/2009 12:00:00 AM

Shakira owes all to family bankruptcy

Dec 9--Colombian singer Shakira, whose hit "Hips Don't Lie" is the most played record in American radio history, became a musical sensation and a global philanthropist because of her family's bankruptcy when she was eight years old.

Colombian singer Shakira, whose hit "Hips Don't Lie" is the most played record in American radio history, became a musical sensation and a global philanthropist because of her family's bankruptcy when she was eight years old.

When the singer was 18, she founded the Barefoot Foundation, a charity to help poor children in her native Colombia get an education. Later, she expanded her reach to become a UNICEF goodwill ambassador.

And it all started when she had the rug pulled out from under her as a kid in Barranquilla, Colombia.

"I remember vividly the day which I entered our apartment and my dad had sold all the furniture we had, and the air-conditioning," Shakira told CNN. "We lost both our cars."

Shakira said she was "very upset."

"I couldn't believe my eyes, I couldn't believe how my parents allowed such a failure in business," she said.

Shakira said she "couldn't embrace bankruptcy so easily, so my parents took me to the park, where there were many kids who were orphans and barefoot and sniffing glue."
My parents took me to the park where there were many kids who were orphans and barefoot and sniffing glue
--Shakira

"They wanted to show me another reality that was much worse than mine," she said, "to make me gain perspective on things."

Shakira told CNN it was that visit to the park that changed her life.

"That day I made myself a promise," she said. "I promised that I would someday succeed to vindicate my parents' social and economic position. But I also wanted to do something about those kids I saw so abandoned by the state, abandoned to their own luck, without any chances to change their destinies."
 
Read more here.
 
Semana International delivers news about Colombia in English. Find more in our home.
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