“Their stories move me. It’s something I can relate to,” Loreen told national newspaper Expressen.
Swedish singer Loreen is in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, as the Swedish contestant in the annual European Song Contest, set to hypnotize viewers across the continent with its glitter and glamour next Saturday, May 26.
However, there’s more to her visit than a song-and-dance performance.
Azerbaijan’s hosting of the European Song Contest has been debated, as the country has been criticized by several human rights organisations.
According to organisation Human Rights Watch, press freedom is very limited, as are public protests, religious groups are restricted, and torture and ill-treatment in police custody occurs unpunished.
On Friday, Loreen visited a women’s shelter, and told them her own story from her childhood years in Morocco.
“My cousin was married off when she was 13, to a 40 year-old man. The same might have happened to me if my family had stayed in Morocco,” she told Expressen.
Through visiting the women’s shelter, Loreen hopes to be able to help their situation and raise awareness.
“It was important for me to tell them that sticking to your dreams is important, no matter what. Otherwise we can never achieve change,” she said.