BARRANQUILLA, Colombia – Famous singer Shakira urged the government of Colombia on Friday to increase the budget for educating and helping the hundreds of children who have arrived in the country from Venezuela with their parents.
“I ask the national government to increase the education budget. We cannot move backwards,” the performer said while laying the symbolic first stone for a new school being built by her charity Barefoot Foundation in the El Bosque district, one of the most impoverished areas in her native city of Barranquilla.
Shakira, who is set to perform in a concert in Bogota on Saturday, also discussed the immigration crisis in Colombia as around 1.2 million Venezuelans have arrived there fleeing the economic crisis in their own country.
“Venezuela is a brother country and we should not forget that it opened its doors to many Colombians in times of crisis and much violence,” she said, adding that it was a human duty to help each other and provide moral support.
The event to mark the beginning of the school’s construction was attended by the education director of the La Caixa Foundation, Xavier Bertolin, and the director general of the FC Barcelona Foundation, Maria Valles.
The center, set to be called the Nuevo Bosque Institute, will provide education to more than 960 children and reach out to more than 1,000 families in the underprivileged neighborhood.