Nelly Furtado Donates $1-Million to Free the Children Charity
Nelly Furtado is donating $1-million to global development charity Free the Children. The Canadian pop singer made the announcement Tuesday, Sept. 27 in front of 18,000 students gathered at Toronto's Air Canada Centre for We Day, the charity's annual event.
Furtado's donation will fund two new programs supporting girls in the Maasai Mara region of Kenya and in other parts of North Africa and the Middle East. The funds will build an all-girls boarding school in Kenya, allowing for hundreds of girls to get an education and grow to be community leaders.
"It's about empowering girls and thinking about sustainable solutions," Furtado said at a press conference.
Part of the singer's donation will go towards the creation of a grant that will match donations from youth around the world up to $500,000.
Furtado, who visited Free the Children's development projects in Kenya earlier this year, talked about her passion for the charity's project.
"I left a piece of my heart in Kenya earlier this year and I can't wait to get started on helping girls like the ones I met build a brighter future for themselves, their families and communities."
"When Nelly visited Kenya, she was so confident. She taught us in my community how to be confident," said Susan, a Kenyan student who the singer met on her visit and the charity brought to the Toronto event.
In February of this year, Furtado said that she would be donating a $1-million fee she received for playing a private party in 2007 for then-Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. At the time she did not say which charity would be receiving the funds.
"Making my announcement today allows me to support the work of these amazing people," she explained.
"Absolutely, this is an unusual circumstance," said Free the Children co-founder Craig Kielburger. He reiterated that Furtado expressed a strong commitment to international development.
"As an individual, she wanted to make good. To give it to women, to give it to long-term development," he explained.
Free the Children is a charity devoted to issues surrounding human rights, education and other children's issues around the world. Furtado is one of many celebrity guests, including Shawn Desman, Joe Jonas and Danny Glover, involved in the Toronto event.