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Education

7 Times Rihanna Reminded Us Just How Important Quality Global Education Is

The best-selling artist who brought us “Work,” “Umbrella,” and “Pon De Replay” again reminded us why she was named Harvard University’s “Humanitarian of the Year” by the Harvard Foundation earlier this year.

In February, Robyn “Rihanna” Fenty went on an educational trip throughout Malawi to meet with students, teachers, and government officials alongside Global Citizen founder and CEO Hugh Evans and GPE Chairwoman Julia Gillard to understand the particular issues facing the country’s education system.

Take Action: Tell World Leaders to Support Global Education

The newest Global Ambassador for the Global Partnership for Education, Rihanna decided to take action shortly after she learned that 17 million school-aged children today are displaced and face uncertain educational futures.

According to the GPE, these children are more than twice as likely to be out of school. If the enrollment rate for secondary schooling increases by 10% higher than the average, the risk of war and conflict is reduced by 3%.

Read More: Rihanna Saves Students From Debt Through New Global Scholarship Program

And Rihanna is working to increase that enrollment rate.

Through her organization, the Clara Lionel Foundation, she is focusing on improving education, health, arts and culture worldwide. Her foundation provides micro-loans to schools in her native Barbados.

Read More: Global Citizen Festival 2016: Rihanna Isn’t Just a Superstar — She’s a Super Giver as Well

Last year, she helped convince world leaders like Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau, Danish Prime Minister Lars Rasmussen, and French President Francois Hollande to commit more funds in support of quality education for children in emergencies.

In honor of her efforts, here are seven times Rihanna used to her voice to speak for  the millions of children currently out of school.


1) “It’s such a pity that they [students in Malawi] have to drop out because they are so smart ... It’s sad that has to end for some of them because they could probably do so much if they had the resources to continue and complete,” February 2017, Malawi.

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2) “We’re all human and we all just want a chance: a chance at life, a chance in education, a chance at a future, really,” February 2017, Harvard University Humanitarian Award Acceptance Speech.

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3) “I would say to myself, when I grow up, when I can get rich, I’m going to save kids all over the world. I just didn’t know I would be in the position to do that by the time I was a teenager,” February 2017, Harvard.

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4) “Kids, they adopt melody really, really quickly and so, if you can use that as a learning tool, I think that’s the most brilliant thing,” February 2017, Malawi.

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5) “What I want the little girl watching those commercials to know, is you don’t have to be rich to be a humanitarian. You don’t have to be rich to help somebody. You don’t gotta be famous. You don’t even have to be college-educated,” February 2017, Harvard.

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6) “It starts with your neighbor, the person right next to you, the person sitting next to you in class, the kid down the block in your neighbourhood, you just do whatever you can to help in any way that you can,” February 2017, Harvard.

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7) “All children everywhere should be afforded the opportunity of a quality education,” September 2016, Global Citizen.

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