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  • Writer's pictureTyzza Macias

Shakira Inaugurates a New Barefoot Foundation School in Barranquilla: Hope for Colombia

In a momentous and heartwarming event, Shakira, the globally renowned artist and philanthropist, graced Barranquilla with her presence to inaugurate the Nuevo Bosque-Pies Descalzos Educational Center. This remarkable initiative brought to life through a partnership between the Barefoot Foundation, the Barranquilla City Hall, the "la Caixa" Foundation, the FC Barcelona Foundation, and the LCI Educational Foundation, is poised to make an indelible mark on the lives of thousands of children and families in the Nuevo Bosque neighborhood.

With her unwavering commitment to education and social transformation, Shakira stood as a beacon of hope, emphasizing the profound impact this school will have. "I want to thank the donors and partners of this project who made this possible," she expressed with gratitude. "Above all, the teachers who will guide our students on the noblest and most important path of education so that together we can build a better present and a bright future as our Colombian children deserve."

The Nuevo Bosque-Pies Descalzos Educational Center, spanning an impressive 6,000 square meters, is not merely a school but a community development center. Each year, it will welcome approximately 1,000 students who will receive primary and secondary education in an environment designed to nurture their talents and aspirations. But its significance doesn't stop there; it is a space that extends its hand to parents, guardians, and community members, offering a multitude of development opportunities.

Patricia Sierra, the Executive Director of the Barefoot Foundation, spoke of the transformational potential of this project, saying, "We have witnessed the impact that school infrastructure and education have on girls, boys, and youth in Colombia, and we will continue to support them through suitable learning spaces and educational projects that reinforce their skills and talents in their present and future."

The journey to realize this dream commenced in 2018 and today stands as a reality in the Nuevo Bosque neighborhood. The school boasts 22 regular classrooms, 4 preschool classrooms, two laboratories, art rooms, a library, a cafeteria, a kitchen, and other common spaces, all meticulously designed to foster an enriching educational experience. It is a testament to the power of collaboration, with representatives from partnering organizations standing proud at the inauguration.

Xavier Bertolín, the Corporate Director of Education and Marketing at the "la Caixa" Foundation, shared his perspective, emphasizing the importance of equity and equal opportunities, especially for those in vulnerable situations. "With our support for the creation of this new school," he said, "we want to contribute to a better future for the children of Barranquilla who have grown up in needy environments."

The FC Barcelona Foundation, another vital partner in this endeavor, celebrated the inauguration as an opportunity to transform lives. Marta Segú, the General Director of the FC Barcelona Foundation, stated, "Education and sports are magical tools to transform the lives of children and youth, offering a hopeful future for their communities."

LCI Education, known for its commitment to educational excellence, also played a crucial role in making this dream a reality. Luis Diego Quirós, Director of Operations at LCI Education, expressed their pride in being part of such a significant social project. "We firmly believe in the power of education and creative thinking to solve the problems that afflict us today," he noted.

The inauguration ceremony was not just about dignitaries and partners; it was a community celebration. The Nuevo Bosque neighborhood community, students, teachers, parents, guardians, and caregivers, all came together to mark this extraordinary moment. It's a testament to the fact that this school is not just a building but a symbol of hope and unity for the entire community.

In a country where over one million children and youth are currently outside the school system, the Nuevo Bosque-Pies Descalzos Educational Center represents a glimmer of hope. Shakira emphasized the need for continued collaboration to ensure that every child has the opportunity to build a brighter future. "We must work tirelessly so that these 15,000 girls and boys can tell a new life story filled with all the opportunities they deserve."

Shakira's Barefoot Foundation has been a driving force in transforming education and breaking the cycle of poverty for countless Colombian families. With more than 152,000 children and youth impacted through educational projects and school infrastructure, and over 880,000 families supported, the foundation is a true champion of change.

The Barefoot Foundation's mission aligns with the Sustainable Development Goals, focusing on providing quality public education to vulnerable children and adolescents. By constructing educational infrastructure and implementing effective educational practices, the foundation is not only creating a protective space but also fostering transformation within communities.

In Colombia, more than 80,000 square meters have been built, thanks to the support of over 800 allies. Each square meter represents a ray of hope and an opportunity for a better life. Through the Barefoot Foundation, the present of education is being transformed into a brighter future, one school at a time.

As the Nuevo Bosque-Pies Descalzos Educational Center opens its doors, it symbolizes the resilience of a community, the power of partnership, and the unwavering commitment of Shakira and the Barefoot Foundation to building a peaceful and prosperous Colombia through education. It's a reminder that when we come together, we can illuminate the path towards a brighter future for all.


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