Barefoot Foundation
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Barranquilla Barranquilla


Population: 1,113,016

Barranquilla is an industrial port city on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. It is the fourth largest city in Colombia and the hometown of our founder, Shakira. It is known for its rich culture and arts.

The Foundation began in Barranquilla and it will soon be home to Barefoot Foundation’s flagship school. The Foundation also funds other local schools and provides nutritious food, income support to alleviate child labor, social and psychological support for new refugees, and recreational programs for the children.

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Altos de Cazucá Altos de Cazucá


Population: 50,000

Altos de Cazucá is an extremely poor neighborhood about 10km from Colombia’s capital, Bogotá. 20,000 residents are displaced people from other areas of the country who are fleeing violence and poverty. The people of Altos de Cazucá face poor sanitation, high unemployment, makeshift housing and violent gangs.

The Barefoot Foundation helps children overcome poverty, violence and displacement in Altos de Cazucá. The Foundation funds schools in Altos de Cazucá and provides nutritional food, income support to alleviate child labor, social and psychological support for new refugees, and recreational programs for children.

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Quibdó Quibdó


Population: 100,000

Quibdó is in western Colombia along the Panama border. It is one of the world’s rainiest cities and home to many displaced people and Afro-Colombians, both groups which are discriminated against and marginalized.

Villa España, a Red Cross camp for displaced persons, has some of Colombia’s worst health and literacy rates. The Foundation funds schools in Quibdó and provides nutritional food, income support to alleviate child labor, social and psychological support for new refugees, and recreational programs the children.

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About Us

The Barefoot Foundation is a US-based non-profit whose mission is to make education universally available to every child. We support sustainable and innovative education programs while working to educate policy-makers about the vital importance of education. This mission is inspired by our founder, international recording artist and philanthropist Shakira. A native of Barranquilla, Colombia, Shakira promised herself that she would help children like those she saw living on the city’s streets. When she was just 18 years old, Shakira kept that promise with the launch of her Pies Descalzos Foundation, dedicated to helping Colombian children who have been victimized by poverty and displacement.

Shakira broadened her humanitarian work through her partnerships with UNICEF, the Global Campaign for Education and the launch of her globally-focused Barefoot Foundation. The Barefoot Foundation is a separate entity from her Colombia-based Pies Descalzos, but both organizations support the same universal education mission and work closely together

Education is the key to a better world for everyone, not just underprivileged children. Education is not just books and facts; it is also social and emotional growth. We help children exercise their basic right to an education, paving the way for their growth in society.

Pies Descalzos – or Barefoot – has a double meaning; it is the name of the record that made Shakira’s music internationally known and it also recognizes the thousands of children living in such poverty that they cannot even afford shoes.

We work with boys and girls whose lives have been disrupted by violence and poverty hoping that someday we will no longer lose young human potential to poverty, malnutrition and violence. The Barefoot Foundation recognizes that simply providing teachers and schools is not enough when children are faced with extreme poverty, so we work to ensure that they do not have to learn with empty stomachs and broken homes.

Colombia map Currently, the Barefoot Foundation supports six schools run by our Colombian partner, the Pies Descalzos Foundation, in the diverse Colombian regions of Barranquilla, Altos de Cazucá and Quibdó. More than five thousand children receive nutritious meals, education and psychological support services from our schools, ultimately benefiting 30,000 vulnerable children, their family and community members, all who have been affected by population displacement. Despite this success, many more children desperately need our help.

Mission and History

Our Founder


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