Shakira and the Barefoot Foundation Profiled in the Times of London


By Amy Turner, Sunday Times of London

Shakira, she of the bum-gyrating, belly-wriggling Latin pop songs Hips Don’t Lie and Underneath Your Clothes, is being kissed by nuns. Around her swarm photographers, reporters, fans and minders, as you’d expect of a 40m-album-selling artist; “Shaki, Shaki, over here,” they shout. She poses for pictures, patient as the sisters, smiling serenely. She has just stepped offstage, but she’s not wearing her usual low-slung hipsters or bikini top, and she hasn’t been gyrating tonight. She’s all in black — a sleek, smart shift dress — and her trademark tousled curls are soberly straight.

Shakira has just given a speech in front of the Colombian president, Alvaro Uribe, the media and hundreds of children and parents at the £4m school she built in a poor suburb of her home town, Barranquilla, which she paid for mainly with funds from her last tour. This is the other Shakira: Colombia’s Lady Di, a national treasure...

...“Being from the developing world, it affects you in so many ways,” she says, wide-eyed. You are so close to injustice and so many brutal, brutal conflicts in society, that you grow up…” she searches for the word, “smothered by it.” She goes on: “Growing up in Colombia has given me the clarity of mind to recognise that education can help break the cycle of poverty. It unlocks every child’s potential, and teaches them that they can have whatever they want in life.”

Published March 1, 2009

Click here to read the full article in the Sunday Times of London