Before Shakira became a world famous singer, she was poor. And before
she was poor, she was one of the few to enjoy Colombian middle class
life. It was the poverty her family plunged into after the bankruptcy of
her father’s business that made her start Pies Descalzos, the
foundation to help child education worldwide.
In an article in Newsweek, the singer writes how at age seven she went from riches to rags, because of the bankruptcy of her father’s jewelry business.
“We had gone from being middle class to poor almost overnight, and from
my 7-year-old child’s perspective it was hard to imagine anything
worse. I can still viscerally remember the seeming desperation of that
moment,” she writes in the magazine.
“My parents found ways to put our situation in perspective and to show
me how fortunate we still were, especially given that—previously
unbeknownst to me—so many families and children had so much less,” she added.
Shakira remembers how she and her dad would take a walk through a Barranquilla park and she saw the children who really had nothing. “They lived in the dirt, in tattered clothes and with bare feet,
scrounging through garbage for anything to eat. Many sniffed glue to
dull the pain of their existence,” she writes.
It was at that moment, she says, she promised herself she would help those children if she ever had the chance.
Now, after having sold more than 50 million albums worldwide, the singer is keeping her her promise.
Her foundation Pies Descalzos (barefoot) already helped education in a number of schools in Colombia and, as she recently announced, will help children in other developing countries too.