Shakira’s Shaking Up Education

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Shakira is known around the world for having one heck of a pair of lungs.  The girl can sing.  Yet, she is has also branched out into another field of work.  She has committed to deliver world-class education to the children in her native Columbia and beyond.

She employs the use of “philanthrocapitalism” which is “the practice of applying business methods to philanthropy and calling on the private sector to pick up where governments leave off.”

Shakira, having grown up in poverty-stricken Columbia, has seen it all.  She has seen how children born into destitute conditions die in the same state. They have no way to raise themselves up and overcome their birth situation.  She knew this was wrong and wanted to change things.  Shakira recognized the importance of education in order to grow new generations of empowered young people.

Further, she viewed her own success as a vehicle to promote education.  She knew she had been given some amazing opportunities in her life and wanted to pay it forward.  She saw it as her duty to invest in change.

So, she began her Barefoot Foundation and co-founded ALAS to tackle these challenges.  Through her organizations, she and Alejandro Santo Domingo, brother of Andres Santo Domingo, have built schools with community centers and a feeding program so parents want to send their kids to school.  They are currently serving more than 6,000 children.

Shakira said, “Education is an investment as well as a duty, and an integral part of a strategy that plays a vital role in figuring out how to spend every penny and making every effort count. This approach is, in my opinion, perhaps the only method to solving one of the modern world’s most pervasive problems.”

Shakira views “philanthrocapitalism” as a means to achieve lasting results.  She said she sees providing education as a way to “produce a supply of qualified workers for decades ahead, but it also creates valuable and savvy consumers. What seems on its face to be charity is actually just good business when you get down to it–because various academic studies have shown that investing in education is as solid an investment as you can make. For every dollar invested in a child’s basic education, $17 is eventually returned to the state. That’s an incredibly healthy return on investment if you ask me.”

Over the years, she has worked with some of the most influential people in education and business.  Some of those innovators include Bill Gates, Howard Buffett and Alejandro Santo Domingo.  All of these leaders hold a belief that getting the private sector involved in education can create lasting change.

To read Shakira’s entire profile, click here.