Shakira recently met with teenage footballers from a UNICEF-supported national girls’ football league in Baku, Azerbaijan.

The inaugural International Day of the Girl Child was held on October 11, to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world. For the inaugural day, UN agencies came together to focus on child marriage, which is a fundamental human rights violation and impacts all aspects of a girl’s life. Child marriage denies a girl of her childhood, disrupts her education, limits her opportunities, increases her risk of violence and abuse, and jeopardizes her health.

Shakira met the girls at the closing ceremony of the FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup last week.

“The Government of Azerbaijan, as well as civil society in general, should work hand in hand to be able to guarantee that every child goes to school. No matter what gender – the boys or the girls, or no matter where do they live. The areas more problematic are rural areas, and so we need to focus on those areas,” she said. “Sport is a great tool to [help girls] socialize and also for the government, society in general, to keep these kids in school.”

To read a full account of Shakira’s visit, click here.

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