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1997 - 2002

Shakira created the Foundation after her first international success Pies Descalzos, due to of the concerned about the living conditions of children in vulnerable situations.


Shakira was named Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF and in the same year she called former Chancellor and former Minister of Education María Emma Mejía, for assume the Executive Presidency of the Foundation, whose headquarters moved from Barranquilla to Bogota.


The Foundation opened its offices in Quibdo (Choco), and began the adjustments in the Technological Institute Antonio Ricaurte - INTAR (seat Maria Berchmans, commune 6th of the Montebello area) and in Altos de Cazucá in Educational Institution Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Soacha, Cundinamarca).

In this period the Foundation begins the accompaniment to support educational institutions called Las Americas and Siete de Abril, in Barranquilla, where 1,565 children started to receive the benefits of this alliance. In addition, the nutritional program was strengthened with personalized follow up and also the strategy to psychosocial support was created.


In order to achieve the goal of comprehensive care for children in vulnerable situations, the Foundation developed its first Strategic Plan 2006-2008.

During this year, the educational intervention strategy was reinforced, achieving the well-being of 3,072 children and youth. Also, comprehensive model that places the school as a community development center was strengthened to take care of 10,500 people in the neighboring districts and communes.

The Elementary Educational Institution of Pies Descalzos in Quibdo (Choco) was inaugurated with comprehensive care for 550 children from the influence area.

The Foundation opened offices in Barranquilla (Atlantico) and Soacha (Cundinamarca). It also established alliances and agreements with national and multilateral organisms for the development of the different programs.


Thanks to the efforts achieved, attention was extended to 3,610 children and youth in the venues and support education programs were consolidated with a priority on literacy and mathematics.

The second facility of the district school Las Americas was built in Barranquilla with support from European foundations. And as an initiative to build a new school in Barranquilla in December Shakira gave a concert in the city reaching a record of 52,000 donors who joined the initiative.


The programme of Tools for life was initiated and the first associations of parents and youth in Soacha (Cundinamarca) and Quibdo (Choco) were formed.

The District of Barranquilla acquired the lands for the future construction of the Pies Descalzos school in the township of La Playa. Through this, the educational project in the area was started, including the educational census and the approach with the surrounding community.

The Foundation awarded university scholarships to the top students from schools and implemented the strategy known as "Young Educators" (strategies for multiplication and training with young people).

After several years of work, the model for administrative, educational and community intervention was strengthened; external auditing processes were incorporated with the international firm Deloitte, as well as organizational processes with the firms Innovative Philanthropy and Compartamos. Thanks to these efforts, the Foundation established new cooperative partnerships with major donations from Spain and Germany.



This year, the Second Strategic Plan for the 2009-2011, whose mission was to implement a quality public model with private support, was developed.

A new Board of Directors composed of renowned personalities from the private sector and philanthropy, was founded.


Inauguration of the Pies Descalzos Foundation School and Community Center in Barranquilla was performed with the presence of our founder and other personalities. In addition, the first approaches to the construction of a new school in Cartagena (Bolívar) were performed.

It was also possible to improve the partnerships with academia, private enterprise and the State to develop the intervention model, synergy with which the mechanisms for early childhood intervention could be established according to the millennium goals.


After the earthquake that struck Haiti in January 2010, Shakira visited Port-au-Prince and pledged to support education in this country.

During the month of June the Mango-Waka Waka campaign led by Shakira was started, aiming to raise funds for the construction of a multipurpose room at a school in Soweto (South Africa).

Shakira performed the traditional Christmas ad for Freixenet (brand of champagne), its payment was entirely donated to the Foundation for the construction of two new schools in Port-au-Prince (Haiti) and Cartagena (Colombia).


The new project in the city of Cartagena was begun: the construction of a mega-school in the area of Lomas del Peye. The first brick of this construction was placed by Shakira who was in company with the philanthropist Howard Buffett, former Mayor Judith Pinedo, Maria Emma Mejia, Patricia Sierra and Antonio Celia, member of the Board of Directors of the Foundation.

In addition to this, eight new classrooms were given to the Gabriel García Marquez School, located in Altos de Cazucá, in partnership with the Municipality of Soacha and the Colombian Family Welfare Institute (ICBF). In this area, with support from the Spanish NGO Ayuda en Acción, the government of Cundinamarca and the Mayor of Soacha, among others, the multi-sports facility Bosque de Esperanza-Pies Descalzos was given to the community.

In the other hand, thanks to the support of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Royalco, two new classrooms and a playroom were delivered in Quibdo.


- Patricia Sierra took over as Executive Director of the Foundation.
-At the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Shakira played a significant role leading philanthropic actions:

1. She gave substantive speeches in front of the most important political and business leaders in the region, emphasizing the importance of investment in education.

2. She participated in the delivery of the ALAS-BID awards for the impulse of early childhood development.

3. Within the framework of the Summit of the Americas, the programme De cero a siempre, Mario Santo Domingo Foundations, Latin America in Solidarity Action ALAS, Pies Descalzos and AeioTU Carulla program, joined with 30 public and private institutions to create the Alliance Primero lo Primero for children of 0-5 years old, a national strategy for early childhood, where the public and private sectors joined to build 13 centers for early intervention in Colombia.

The Primero lo Primero alliance launched the Early Childhood Center at the Institute of Technology Antonio Ricaurte in Quibdo;  for 220 children under 5 years.


The 2013 was an important year for the Pies Descalzos Foundation; 5,166 children and 67,000 members of the communities surrounding the three educational institutions in Barranquilla, Quibdo and Soacha were supported with the comprehensive intervention model, and to strengthen the team was supplemented an expert to optimize all the quality education processes in schools supported by the Foundation.

The Construction of the Educational Institution in Lomas del Peye, Cartagena was completed with an investment of with an investment of 8 million dollars; a big project for 1,700 children, their families and the community.

In addition, for the work of 16 years, The Pies Descalzos Foundation was recognized among the five most admired organizations in Colombia, according to the Consultoria e Investigacion Cifras & Conceptos Company (fifth panel review 2013, 8th of July to 20th of September 2013).


On the February 24th, 2014, the Educational Institution of Pies Descalzos Foundation in Lomas del Peye, Cartagena (Colombia), was inaugurated with the presence of Shakira, donors and different personalities. The institution opened its doors in March to attend approximately 1,700 students and also became a center of community development for more than 34,000 residents of the community.

The Pies Descalzos Foundation and El Espectador Forums performed the Educational Challenges Forum: Now or Never, in Cartagena, on February 19. The event was attended by nationally and internationally recognized experts and it provided recommendations to correct existing problems to achieve a good level of education in Colombia in the coming years.

According to the sixth Panel of opinion of consulting company and Investigation "Cifras & Conceptos", Pies Descalzos Foundation was recognised between three organizations most admired in Colombia. (Sixth Panel of Opinion 2014, measurement July 8th- September 19th of 2014).


Our Foundation is recognized as one of the most important organizations for work in Quality Public Education in the first volume of The Best of Colombia and for the third year we are part of the most admired social organizations in Colombia, according to the VII opinion panel of the Advice Company Cifras & Conceptos.

The model of the Sports Center “Bosques de la Esperanza” was selected to be part of the permanent collection of the Pompidou museum, in Paris.
The School Open Forum, a bet for Quality Education! Was held in Barranquilla and we shared the results of the strategic alliance and management balance made in Soacha from 2005 to 2015. Both events were held in conjunction with Ayuda en Accion Foundation, our partner in the intervention in the two regions.

We signed three important agreements with the foundations Nourish the Children to receive a multivitamin food and strengthen the strategic line of nutrition, with Restrepo Barco and ISA to implement the program Educational Transformation and with Breteau to development skills in language and mathematics through the implementation of ICT, to strengthen the intervention line of quality public education.

7 supported students by our Foundation were selected because of their excellent performance in the exam SABER 11, to the program “Ser Pilo Paga”.

Pies Descalzos

We are a Colombian non-governmental organization founded by worldwide acclaimed artist Shakira in 1997 with the main objective to promote QUALITY PUBLIC EDUCATION for children in vulnerable situation in Colombia.

Since 2004, we have implemented a comprehensive intervention strategy, with five axis: provide quality & public education, improve the nutrition of our children, promote personal growth & sustainable development, building top-notch schooling infrastructures and finally establishing supported schools as community centers via ‘Open door school strategy’.

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Pies Descalzos Foundation
Steet 85 No. 18-32 Of. 401
Bogotá - Colombia (571) 6358770