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Our Founder


In 1997 at age 18, Shakira created the Pies Descalzos Foundation in Colombia after her first international hit. Through the Foundation she has been supporting children in vulnerability and displacement conditions in the country. On account of her work, Shakira was named in 2003 as Goodwill Ambassador of UNICEF and by 2006 she participated in the creation of ALAS Foundation (Latin America in Solidarity Action), an organization that she continues supporting actively until this day.

After the Cyclone SIDR hit Bangladesh, Shakira, as Goodwill Ambassador of UNICEF, visited this country in 2007 to learn about their most urgent needs and explore different projects in the most affected regions. In 2010, she was named Ambassador in the 1GOAL Campaign supported by FIFA which facilitates education for children in several parts of the world.

Shakira has also been invited by prestigious universities such as Oxford in December 2009 and Harvard in February 2011 to talk to students about her philanthropic work. Her mission in these places has been to generate awareness about the importance of EDUCATION FOR ALL.

After the Haiti's earthquake, Shakira visited Port-au-Prince in April 2010 and pledged to work on strategies to assist this country in its educational environment. Therefore, her strong support in the reconstruction of the Elie Dubois school at the Haitian capital.

In 2011, the President of the United States, Barack Obama, appointed Shakira as Member of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for the Hispanic population.

That same year, Shakira, as Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF, met with a group of teenagers in vulnerable areas of Udaipur, Rajasthan (India) to discuss the importance of education and also empower girls on the need to break the cycle of poverty and inequality at national and global levels.

Our founder, global advocate for education, also visited the Max Rayne Bilingual School "Hand to Hand" in Jerusalem (Israel) in June 2011, where she met with students to discuss about the power of education. At the meeting, Shakira shared with Jewish and Palestinian students who use bilingual education as a tool for peace.

Thanks to her philanthropic work, our founder has been given several awards: the MTV Europe Award for her humanitarian work; the Spirit of Hope Award to celebrate 12 years of her Foundation; the Agent of Change Award at the MTV Latin American Awards; Artist of the Year in 2011 by the Harvard Foundation; Person of the Year 2011 by The Latin Recording Academy ®, among others. Also, in 2012 Shakira was nominated for the Prize Prince of Asturias thanks to what she and her foundations are doing to help disadvantaged children in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Her commitment and hard work in favor of education for the most vulnerable children in her native country and around the world caught the attention of several international media such as The New York Times and The Economist.

Since April 10th, 2014, she is part of the group of Emergency Coalition for Global Action for Education, a joint effort between the United Nations and the International Monetary Fund to ensure the second global objective of the millennium, in which each child in the world will receive education.

In 2015 she urged world leaders through UNICEF to invest systematically in the development of early childhood, and joined the Pope Francisco, Angelique Kidjo and Malala Yousafzai in a special ceremony to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals 2025.

In the last years, Shakira has participated in many events about education around the world, sending out her message on the importance of providing quality education to all children to ensure a better and possible future for them to different governments, summits, universities, public and private entities.

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