PACHACÚTEC, Ventanilla District, Peru (December 7, 2012) — Following her Born This Way Ball concert in Lima, five-time Grammy Award–winning singer and songwriter and UNICEF supporter Lady Gaga paid a surprise visit to a UNICEF-supported school in Ventanilla District, Peru, on the outskirts of Lima. The students were shocked and delighted that the megastar had come to visit their school to share a day of activities and to get to know them.
The school, Francisco Bolognese, is located in Pachacútec, one of the poorest areas of Ventanilla District, where poverty, violence, mistreatment, gang activities and drug use contribute to keeping many children out of school. In response, UNICEF has been working with the government and partners to implement Child Friendly School initiatives that help keep children in school and provide them with a protective environment. The Child Friendly School model, which UNICEF has helped develop, includes working with parents and the community to provide children and youth with a safe and supportive environment for learning.
Lady Gaga emphasized the importance of initiatives that help children and youth develop to their fullest potential: “All children have the right to feel valuable, and everybody has a shot—but not everybody has a fair shot. So, I think that what UNICEF does is try to make the shot a little more equal.”
Students gave Lady Gaga a tour of their classroom and spoke about some of the challenges they face in their daily lives, such as bullying. Lady Gaga was invited to watch a play put together by the students that depicted bullying in school life. She then sat in a circle with the students and shared her own experiences with bullying as a teenager—and offered advice to the youngsters. Students, in turn, offered their perspectives about their daily lives as students and the realities of growing up in a place like Pachacútec.
Later, after kicking off a soccer match at the school, Lady Gaga delighted the crowd with a short verse of her song ‘Born this Way’—leaving all wanting more. As the day came to a close, Lady Gaga stressed to all of the students the importance of being kind and compassionate to one another and commended them on their hard work and determination to make all of their aspirations become a reality.