"On behalf of myself and the Pies Descalzos Foundation, I express my immense gratitude and pride in having allies and friends such as the Mayor's Office of Barranquilla, the "la Caixa" Foundation, the FC Barcelona Foundation and the LCI Education Foundation as we fulfil a new dream: to build a new school in Barranquilla and continue to support the children and young people of the city", said the artist and founder of the Pies Descalzos Foundation, Shakira, at the inauguration of the new educational centre in the Nuevo Bosque neighbourhood.
With more than 6,000 square metres, the school will receive around 1,000 students every year, who will study basic primary and secondary education. It will also be a community centre that will open up spaces for parents and other members of the community. "We have witnessed the impact that school infrastructure and education have on girls, boys and young people in Colombia, and we will continue to support them through adequate spaces for learning and educational projects that strengthen their skills and talents in their present and future," says Patricia Sierra, executive director of the Pies Descalzos Foundation.
The project, which began in 2018, has had a total investment of nearly 4 million euros to build 22 regular classrooms, four pre-school classrooms, two laboratories, art classrooms, library, dining room, kitchen and other common spaces.
At the event, Shakira emphasised the importance of continuing to work to promote quality education in Colombia. She was accompanied by representatives of the partner organisations. Xavier Bertolín, Corporate Director of Education and Marketing of the "la Caixa" Foundation, said that "we promote educational transformation with the aim of improving the quality of learning and guaranteeing equity and equal opportunities for young people, especially those in the most vulnerable situations. With our support for the creation of this new school, we want to contribute to a better future for the children of Barranquilla who have grown up in needy environments.
For her part, Dr. Marta Segú, general director of the FC Barcelona Foundation, highlighted that "it is a great satisfaction for the Barça Foundation to inaugurate the Nuevo Bosque school in Barranquilla with such relevant allies with whom we share objectives and values. Education and sport are magical tools to transform the lives of children and young people, offering a future of hope for their communities.
Luis Diego Quirós, Chief Operating Officer of LCI Education, said: "We are extremely proud to be able to support Pies Descalzos and the city of Barranquilla in strengthening one of the most important social projects: the education of future generations. We firmly believe in the power of education and creative thinking to solve the problems that afflict us today and we want to be part of projects like this that generate a change and a unique opportunity for a community that deserves it".
Currently, more than 152,000 children and young people have participated in the educational projects of the Pies Descalzos schools, with more than 880,000 families accompanied and 9 schools built that contribute to quality education in Colombia and to the development of the country to break the cycle of poverty in the lives of its inhabitants.