PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Colombian singer Shakira danced with students in Haiti on Thursday as she celebrated the renovation of a historic Catholic girls school damaged in the country’s devastating 2010 earthquake.
With her song “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)” playing over loudspeakers, the Grammy-winning, hip-shaking pop star grooved with students from the Elie Dubois high school in downtown Port-au-Prince.
Her Barefoot Foundation, which helps child victims of violence and disasters, and the Inter-American Development Bank each donated $400,000 to restore the high school.
“I’m convinced that the key to a dignified future for Haiti is through education,” said Shakira, 34, wearing a black T-shirt and matching jeans.
The nine-classroom, 250-student school was built in 1913, and was the first in Haiti to provide vocational training for girls, officials said. Construction is expected to begin in two months and will take up to 14 months to complete. Organizers have yet to put out bids.
Those involved attribute the cost to the expensive nature of building materials in the capital.
“Everything has to be imported,” said Eric Cesal, an architect and program manager for Architecture for Humanity, an aid group that planned the school’s restoration.
Youngsters were excited to meet Shakira and hear about their new school.
“It’s so nice that we have a star coming and that she’s coming to help the school,” said Joselourdes Jean-Paul, a 19-year-old student. “With the new school, we’re going to learn more and learn better.”