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Colombian pop singer, Shakira, announced recently at Bill Clinton's conference, Clinton Global Initiative, that Latin America in Solidarity Action (ALAS) is donating $40 million dollars towards relief efforts in Peru and Nicaragua.

Ica, Chincha and Pisco were the regions in Peru hardest hit by an earthquake last August. Hundreds of people were killed and over a thousand injured. A state of emergency was declared initially, as well as a request for medicine, blankets, tents and any other help that could be given in South America’s coldest season.

ALAS’s donations are providing shelter and basic necessities to over 37,000 people. Additionally, donations provide psychological and social support, oversee the supply and quality of water, and work with the community in rebuilding structures.

Nicaragua also needed food, shelter, water and sanitation last month after Hurricane Felix’s 160-mph (260-kph) winds and giant waves hit the Atlantic coast, flattening villages and killing over 100 people. ALAS is answering The United Nations’ emergency appeal for relief and assistance for the more than 160,000 affected people.

Besides that $40 million, Shakira announced that another $5 million will be donated by ALAS to be spent on health and education in Latin American countries. Said Clinton at his conference last month, “The unique collaboration of Latin artists, intellectuals and entrepreneurs make ALAS the ideal institution to build a culture of philanthropy throughout Central and South America.”

Gabriel García Márquez, Colombian novelist, political activist, and recipient of the 1982 Nobel Prize in Literature, set up ALAS with other prominent Latin artists to combat preventable deaths of children. Before joining Márquez in founding ALAS, Shakira had founded her own children’s charity, the Barefoot Foundation, to help Colombian children who are victims of violence. As she is so oft-quoted saying, “Let’s not forget at the end of this day when we all go home, 960 children will have died in Latin America.” 

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