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.
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