4 APRIL 2006

Shakira is known for the passion she brings to her sizzling stage performances, but the Latin diva is equally enthusiastic when it comes to good causes. And this week the pop dynamo - who started a charitable foundation for vulnerable children in her native Colombia - was honoured by the UN for her campaigning.

Shakira had dressed in a sober black suit for the United Nations Humanitarian Awards, but her familiar, warm smile was still in evidence.

The star's Barefoot foundation has been helping youngsters caught up in the cycle of violence in the South American country since she founded the organisation in 1997.

Also receiving a tribute was 21-year-old model Karolina Kurkova, who uses her fame to raise money for The Beautiful Life Fund, which helps some of the world's poorest children.

But it was an impassioned speech from the petite pop princess that really made an impact on the 400-strong audience.

After striding up to the podium to acknowledge the accolade, Grammy-winning Shakira declared: "Let's not forget at the end of this day when we all go home, 960 children will have died in Latin America."

The singer went on to exhort the public to follow her lead in trying to make a difference. "This generation has so many ideas and technologies that my parents didn't have access to - so let's take advantage of this historical opportunity we have within reach to make this world a better place," she urged.

Photo: ©
In 2003, 29-year-old Shakira was named a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF. The pop star was honoured by the UN for founding a charitable organisation that helps impoverished Colombian childrenPhoto: © Getty Images
Photo: ©
She was joined at the ceremony by model Karolina Kurkova, who also received an award for her humanitarian work on behalf of childrenPhoto: © Getty Images

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