Colombian singer finds site for her planned school for displaced and orphaned children.
By Gil Kaufman
More than three months after a massive earthquake devastated Haiti, pop singer Shakira visited the island on Sunday to make good on her pledge to build a school for the island nation’s children.
Looking for a suitable site for the school for needy children to be built by her Pies Descalzos (Barefoot) Foundation in the capital of Port-au-Prince, The Associated Press reported that Shakira touched down on a golf course that has become a makeshift camp for more than 50,000 homeless quake survivors. In addition to greeting fans and infants living at the Petionville Golf Club, Shakira met with actor Sean Penn, who has been working on disaster relief on the island since the quake struck on January 12.
Shakira, who took part in MTV’s Hope for Haiti Now telethon in January, met with 100 children at the site of her Barefoot Haiti school, an offshoot of her foundation’s efforts in Colombia, where the organization provides nutrition, education and psychological support to more than 6,000 children displaced by violence.
“We’ve come to make all the preparations to be able to start the building of a Barefoot school here in Haiti,” Shakira told Reuters about her latest effort. “We think we can employ what we’ve learned [in Colombia] here, apply it in this country which needs it so much at the moment.”
With a potential 300,000 people killed and more than a million left homeless, many of them young orphans, the Haitian earthquake is considered one of the worst natural disasters in modern history. The singer said she believes that providing education to the many displaced and orphaned Haitian children is a key part of the reconstruction efforts.
“We need to think about the future of this country and of how Haiti’s children can be useful to their societies tomorrow,” she said. “Education is one of the fundamental tools with which to develop and rebuild Haiti.”