Rihanna delivers inspiring speech while accepting Harvard's Humanitarian Award

By Sarah Walker

Rihanna isn't just one of the world's most recognizable faces -- she's also an incredible motivational speaker. On Monday, the 29-year-old gave a rousing and moving speech at Harvard University while accepting the Humanitarian Award from the school.

She joins the likes of Malala Yousafzai and Lionel Richie who've also been presented with the honour.

“So – I finally made it to Harvard. Never thought I’d be able to say that in my life, but it feels good," she joked before moving on to discuss where her passion for giving back comes from. Apparently, it all has to do with her watching commercials that encouraged folks to donate to charity.

“I would think to myself, ‘I wonder how many 25 cents I could save up to save all the kids in Africa?'” she recalled. “And I would say to myself, ‘When I grow up and I get rich, I’m gonna save kids all over the world.' I just didn’t know I would be in a position to do that by the time I was a teenager."


The singer told students to "help in any way that you can."

She continued: “All you need to do is help one person, expecting nothing in return. To me, that is a humanitarian. What that little girl watching those commercials didn’t know is that you don’t have to be rich to be a humanitarian, you don’t have to be rich to help somebody. You don’t have to be famous, you don’t even have to be college educated... But it starts with your neighbour, the person right next to you."

She wrapped the speech up by saying: “You just do whatever you can to help in any way that you can.”

Growing up in the Caribbean before moving to the United States as a teen, the star founded the BELIEVE Foundation to help critically ill children. In 2012, she went on to establish the Clara Lionel Foundation.

The star has also been an ambassador for UNICEF's clean drinking water projects and the Global Partnership for Education and Global Citizen Project

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