The new Pies Descalzos Foundation school is an innovative and urbanistic project focused on social inclusion that serves as an agent of change for 1,700 children and young people who will benefit directly, as well as indirectly benefiting the community at large, comprised of more than 34,000 people.
This new school in Lomas del Peyé will be the catalyst of change in its immediate environs, becoming a headquarters for development for the homes found within this area as well as a source of pride for those impacted, as executive director of the foundation Patricia Sierra indicated: “The inauguration of this school brings great joy to the children of this community because it is here that they will be able to see the dream that they’ve held onto since the day we started construction finally come true. I remember them saying to us that it was a tall tale, that they couldn’t have a school this big or grand here…and today they have the pleasure of seeing it come to life. This has been made possible thanks to our donors, allies, and all those who believed in the cause of the Pies Descalzos Foundation and have gotten on board with Shakira to agree that a quality education is something that belongs to all children, all over the world.”
Likewise, Juan Carlos Franco, general director of the Mario Santo Domingo Foundation, a crucial piece of this project and which also forms part of the public/private “First Things First” alliance that focuses on early childhood development, said: “The Lomas del Peye school will ensure that thousands of kids with few resources can count on receiving a quality education with continuity from early childhood on, allowing them to break the inter-generational cycle of poverty and promoting social mobility.”
This school and community center spans 8,000 square meters and 55 rooms distributed among early childhood, primary, secondary, and specialized classrooms, as well as a cafeteria, library, and sports facilities. It also boasts a staff of 34 teachers under the direction of Father Alfonso Moreno Grau. This educational institution seeks to implement a new way of operating, wherein the diocese of Cartagena along with the archbishop Jorge Enrique Jimenez will be at the head of the school administration. It’s a model in which the responsibility is shared amongst three sectors and alliances: the archdiocese, the mayor of Cartagena, and the Pies Descalzos Foundation. The school was designed by renowned architect Giancarlo Mazzanti who described the project in his own words: “What we wanted to achieve was creating a place that aside from being used as a place for children to study at, could also be a meeting place and learning center for the entire community”.
The public, private, and social sectors have been united since the beginning in making this project become the final product it is today. The project was constructed with the support of:
Computadores para Educar, Plasticaucho Colombia, la Casa Editorial El Tiempo, Organización Corona, Sodimac Colombia, Metropoli, Cementos Argos, Central de Hierros, Hotel Sofitel legend Santa Clara, Ecole Secondaire Sainte-Famille, Entornos Productivos Marcela Villegas, Avianca, Pagos Online net and Yucatán Holidays
About Barefoot Foundation:
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.