David Cook this week visited Addis Ababa as part of the ‘American Idol‘ charity effort “Idol Gives Back.” The season-seven winner visited a school for young girls in the Ethiopian capital for a segment that will air on the show’s April 21 effort, which will spotlight the charity efforts of the Idol Gives Back Foundation.
“The girls at the school genuinely want to learn,” Cook, speaking to reporters via phone from Addis Ababa, said of the children he met. “They want to have that education, have that opportunity. And that’s inspiring, to see a seven-year-old girl want to build a better future for herself. I remember being seven years old, and I didn’t have that foresight.”
Speaking from Ethiopia, Cook talked about why he chose to visit a school for young women specifically, calling women “the backbone of society.”
“You have to give these girls a basis, a platform from which to start,” he added. “And the fact that [an education is] not a right for these girls, but in a lot of cases a privilege, that’s just abhorrent. “
He also connected with the students through music.
“We had to explain to the little girls who I was, and why I was there,” said Cook. “But we did get a chance to play some music for them — my guitar player came out with me — and they sang for me. It’s always cool to see music be this universal language.”
Cook participated in the second installment of “Idol Gives Back” in 2008, which raised $60 million during the time it aired on FOX.
“I remember specifically on my season, when we did ‘Idol Gives Back,’ we all snuck up to the balcony and got to watch Annie Lennox’s performance from the front of the house,” he recalled. “In the background, they were showing images of the children, and it tore me apart.
“It really puts you in that position where you want to help, and from that point on I was kinda chomping at the bit to get involved with ‘Idol Gives Back.'”
Cook will appear on the April 21 episode, although he said that as of now there were no plans for him to perform. Earlier this year, season-eight winner Kris Allen visited Haiti and season-five finalist Elliott Yamin went to Angola as part of the “Idol Gives Back” campaign.
See who was eliminated in last week’s ‘Idol’ results show: