The BBC's Rajesh Mirchandani recently accompanied pop mega star Shakira on a trip through Colombia to raise awareness for disadvantaged children and education. They traveled to the north-west border province of Choco, a poor and remote location deep in the Colombian jungle to visit a school funded by Shakira.
The area has been devastated by the civil conflict that has wreaked havoc throughout the country for years. "One-hundred per cent of our kids that we have in our school here have been displaced or have families that have fled their home towns," Shakira told Mirchandani.
The kids in the town greet her with fawning admiration, not just because she is Colombia's biggest pop star but also because they understand what she is trying to do for their community. When Mirchandani asked a teacher why the government isn't taking more of an active role to help the people in the way Shakira has, she responded, "You'll have to ask the president that. He should pay more attention to the plight of the people of Choco. We've been abandoned."
But thanks to Shakira, Colombia's government and specifically President Uribe, seems to be taking notice. Uribe recently recognized the singer's work, giving Shakira a medal as she announced plans to build another school in her hometown of Barranquilla.
Shakira's persistence and passion has helped transform hundreds of children's lives and has pushed education to the top of the list of priorities in Colombia where the FARC and the civil conflict has dominated political conversation for almost 40 years. Helping children in the most dire of circumstances find hope and opportunity seems to inspire her just as much as her music.
Click here to watch a video of Shaki explaining why her work is important.