May 16, 2008 / 3:04 AM / 12 years ago

Shakira campaigns for poor children

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Colombian pop singer Shakira is using her fame to help poor Latin American children, but she also has her heart set on a new role — mother to her own offspring.

Colombian singer Shakira poses after an interview to promote "ALAS: El Concierto Por Los Ninos" (The Concert for the Children) at the Banamex Centre in Mexico City May 15, 2008. REUTERS/Tomas Bravo

“I want two,” the hip-swiveling siren told Reuters on Thursday at an event to promote the children’s charity, the ALAS Foundation (which stands for Latin America in Solidarity Action when translated into English).

But asked when she would like to start a family, she laughed nervously and said: “That’s a good question.”

Shakira, 31, has been dating Antonio de la Rua, the son of a former Argentine president, for nearly eight years, with swarms of photographers constantly tailing the celebrity couple looking for hints about a possible wedding.

Shakira, who has reportedly sold more than 50 million albums worldwide, wants to raise awareness about the extreme poverty affecting millions of Latin American children.

Recently she visited British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to talk about third world education and also went to Capitol Hill in Washington to urge lawmakers to approve more spending to help send the world’s poor children to school.

“There are 40 million children in Latin America who have no access to any kind of development program, who receive no stimulation, nutrition or education and need to be nurtured and taken care of,” she told Reuters.

“Artists have a tremendous power to communicate, to reach people, to woo, to inspire. It’s an important and fundamental part of my life to be able to use my public profile to make certain issues visible, issues that are more important than my own career, that are more urgent and need immediate attention.”

Her own charity, the Pies Descalzos Foundation, has been raising money since 1997 for poor children in Colombia.

On Thursday, Shakira announced that Carlos Slim, Mexico’s richest man, and Howard Buffett, son of U.S. investment guru Warren Buffett, had pledged nearly $200 million between them to the ALAS Foundation.

Shakira and Spanish singer Alejandro Sanz will perform a free concert in Buenos Aires on Saturday along with other Latin artists to raise awareness of childhood poverty throughout the continent. A simultaneous concert, fronted by Spain’s Miguel Bose, will take place in Mexico City’s main square.

Editing by Belinda Goldsmith and Dean Goodman

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