Shakira Commits To Building A New School In Suffering Colombian District

Shakira is ready to build her seventh school in Colombia with major partners by her side. On Tuesday (March 28), the Pies Descalzos Foundation founder announced that she has teamed up with the FC Barcelona Foundation and the “la Caixa” Banking Foundation to serve one of Barranquilla’s most conflict-ridden districts, El Bosque.

“In this community that we want to help, 20 percent of the children suffer from chronic malnutrition,” she said during a press conference. “Most countries in conflict zones do not have programs focused on sports and we know that physical activity is extraordinary for transmitting values, which is crucial to our work in education.”

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Slated to open in two years with additional support from the Colombian Ministry of Education and the City of Barranquilla, the “Chantaje” singer is confident that the Institución Educativa Fundación Pies Descalzos Nuevo Bosque will succeed in connecting underprivileged students with opportunities that are currently out of reach.

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“[When] we started to build schools in Colombia 20 years ago, we chose remote areas where there was absolutely nothing at all – no infrastructure, roads or even potable water,” she explained. “We built schools where the government was absent and thousands of children didn’t have access to quality education. The transformation was immediate – jobs were generated, malnutrition plummeted and the students responded well academically.”

While Shakira has become an international sensation through music, the philanthropist also took a moment to remind her audience that she was no different from the children whose futures she has chosen to invest in. “I was born and raised in a Colombia in conflict. To see how lives are being transformed instead of being trapped in a continual cycle of poverty is liberating. It shows that there is a way out.”

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