Singer Shakira is convinced her latest school project in her native Colombia has turned around the fortunes of the local community after opening last month (Feb14).
The Hips Don't Lie hitmaker launched the facility in Cartagena in February (14) with funding from her Barefoot Foundation education charity. The school has the capacity for 1,700 students and features a library, gym and sports area.
Shakira now claims the school has transformed the impoverished area and reduced the number of gangs in the neighbourhood.
She tells Britain's Radar magazine, "It's already having an enormous social impact on the area. Before this school, there were no paved roads, or potable water, or electricity. And now all of this has changed...
"It was recently reported that the gangs that used to hang in this area have dissolved completely since the school was was built. So that is the kind of social impact that these kind of projects have. And that is why I vehemently and passionately advocate for education and for the construction of schools that are state-of-the-art - and that are open to the community. That is the whole philosophy that we have in our foundation."