Footprints for life
About the Pies Descalzos Foundation’s History

We are an organization, created by Shakira in 1997, focused on supporting education in Colombia for more than 25 years. Find out more about what we have done over the years.


Learn more

fundacion pies descalzos educacion en colombia donaciones shakira

1997 – 2002

Shakira creates the Foundation, concerned about the welfare of children in vulnerable situations.


María Emma Mejía, former Foreign Minister and former Minister of Education, becomes the Executive President of the FPD, which moves its headquarters to Bogotá. We initiated a massive nutrition program for children in marginalized areas and displaced communities in Colombia.


The Foundation opened a new office in Quibdó and started adequate two public schools: Antonio Ricaurte-INTAR in Quibdó and the Gabriel García Márquez public school in Soacha.


We opened the María Bershmans school in Quibdó attending 550 children. We also opened offices in Barranquilla (Atlántico) and Soacha (Cundinamarca).



The Foundation started its new construction at the Las Americas public school in Barranquilla, attending 3.610 children and teenagers. Moreover, Shakira gave a concert that attracted 52,000 citizens who donated to the initiative.


We initiated the “Tools for Life” program and awarded university scholarships to the best students in the schools and implemented the “Young Educators” strategy (training and multiplication with young people).


We started the construction of the Pies Descalzos public school in La Playa, Barranquilla, Atlántico. We elaborated the Second Strategic Plan for the 2009-2011 Trienium, to implement a quality public model with private support and assistance.


We opened the FPD school and the Childhood Development Center  in Barranquilla and made an approach to start building another in Cartagena, Bolívar. We also establish alliances with government entities to develop the  intervention model. 


The Pies Descalzos Educational Institution in the Corregimiento de la Playa, Barranquilla achieved “High Level” in the Saber 11 Tests.


We began the construction of the school and the Childhood Development Center in Lomas del Peyé, Cartagena, while delivering eight new classrooms to the Gabriel García Marquez school, a sports center to the Bosques de la Esperanza school in Soacha, and three classrooms in Quibdó.


Patricia Sierra becomes the Executive Director of the Foundation. The Primero lo Primero (“First Things Firts”, in English) alliance is created in favor of children from 0-8 years, seeking to build 13 early childhood centers in Colombia, alongside 30 public and private institutions. This alliance inaugurated the Early Childhood Center at the Instituto Tecnológico Antonio Ricaurte in Quibdó for 220 children under 5 years of age.



Through the comprehensive intervention model, we support 5,166 children and 67,000 members of the communities surrounding all three public schools in Barraquilla, Quibdó and Soacha.

Since 2013, the Pies Descalzos Foundation has been recognized as one of the top five NGOs in Colombia with the best reputation.


The Foundation opened a new school in Lomas del Peyé, Cartagena to more than 1,700 students and becoming a community development center for more than 34.000 people in the city.

We held the Education Challenges Forum: Now or Never, in Cartagena de Indias.


The Foundation is recognized as one of the most important organizations for its work in Quality Public Education in the first volume of “The Best of Colombia”. In addition, for the third consecutive year we are part of the most admired social organizations in Colombia.


Between 2011 and 2015 the Alberto Merani Foundation conducted a longitudinal study to show which public schools in the country had the fastest growing trend of improvement in the SABER 11 tests. Barranquilla’s FPD school obtained this award for being the one in Colombia with the greatest acceleration in a short time and the best performance in Saber Tests during the last years.


The Pies Descalzos Foundation received the “Noûs Trayectoria de Vida” Award at the Educational Excellence Contest in Quito (Ecuador). It was also a finalist in the Public Prize for Peace, which aims to publicize and support the initiatives of artisan peace builders worldwide.


During the World Education Innovation Summit, held in Doha (Qatar), Shakira announced the partnership between the Pies Descalzos Foundation and Educate A Child. This agreement aims to provide access and permanence in education to 54,000 children in Colombia.


The Foundation began with new construction projects in Barranquilla, Cartagena, Quibdó, La Guajira and Norte de Santander.


Thanks to the Foundation’s efforts, its project’s implementation expands to 79 schools all over the country, benefitting more than 21,000 children in Colombia.