Shakira Is Helping to Building Education Centers
By Max Chafkin
Who: Shakira, Founder, Barefoot Foundation
Day Job: Singer.
If You Build It: A newly opened hilltop school in Cartagena, Colombia, is a gleaming monument to modern education: a three-and-a-half-acre campus equipped with state-of-the art computers and sports facilities. "I don't know if there are many schools like it in America," says Shakira, 37, the school's founder. Many of its 1,700 students are refugees in their own country, who lacked access to clean water, electricity, and, of course, any real prospect of getting out. "In countries like mine, kids who are born poor, die poor—unless people do something about it," she says.
Extra Credit: The new K–12 public school offers all of that free of charge, but what's amazing is that it's not unique: It's one of six opened by Shakira's Pies Descalzos ("barefoot," in English) Foundation, which she created at 18 when she made her first million. She has also helped open 25 early-childhood centers, while recruiting an impressive roster of supporters, including billionaires (such as Carlos Slim) and heads of state (including President Barack Obama).
Credo: "I'm not embarrassed to ask for money for education—we cannot see it as a luxury. It is a birthright that belongs to every human being."
Get Involved: fundacionpiesdescalzos.com/en to donate
Photo via Jason Merritt/Getty Images Entertainment