Latest update

Colombia is experiencing a second wave of the pandemic. On 4 February, the total case count exceeded 2.1 million and the number of active cases was 79,146. In some cities, intensive care (ICU) wards for COVID-19 patients are close to overflowing. The capital city, Bogota, ended its red alert on 2 February, as its COVID-19 ICU occupancy sank to 81%. Colombia is scheduled to launch a mass vaccination drive on 20 February.

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COVID-19 in Colombia

How is Compassion currently operating in Colombia?

  • Are Compassion centres open?

    Currently, all Compassion child development centres in Colombia are closed.

    Staff members have created online curriculum lessons, livestreams and devotionals. Local church partners continue to monitor home situations for child protection and monitor families that are quarantined or have tested positive for COVID-19.

    Since April they have distributed over 609,000 food packs and 282,000 hygiene kits to families and have facilitated medical support for 10,000 individuals. In areas where they cannot deliver food, they have provided families with vouchers to be used in local markets.

  • Are children receiving letters?

    The majority of letters are delayed in Colombia, which means it may take longer for you to receive letters from your sponsored child. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write! We encourage you to continue sending your sponsored child letters of encouragement and hope. What a joyful day it will be when those letters are delivered!

  • Are gifts being delivered?

    Gifts continue to be distributed in Colombia, although they are currently delayed. Staff members have been given the option to disburse monetary gifts to caregivers, where appropriate. This applies to family gifts and child gifts (including birthday and final gifts). Families may spend the gift on whatever they consider most important to meet family needs. The caregiver will decide the best use of the money, recognising that sometimes purchasing food or paying rent is in the best interest of a child.

How you can pray

Thank you for praying for children and families in Colombia who have been impacted by COVID-19—and the local staff and churches who continue to serve them in difficult circumstances.

Please join us in praying for the following:

  • Pray that Jhonatan’s father would quickly recover from his operation and be completely healed from his cancer.
  • Pray for guidance and strength for a baby’s grandmother and father as they continue to care for the baby after his mother passed away.
  • Pray that God would give the doctors wisdom as they work to manage Edwin’s high blood pressure.
  • Pray for the continued healing of Jairo’s mother-in-law and sister-in-law.
  • God would provide Santiago with the opportunity and resources he needs to continue to further his education at a university.
  • Pray that God would comfort and bring peace to the two families who are grieving their sons’ passings.
  • God's guidance and wisdom for local Church Partner staff and leadership as they determine when and how to reopen their Compassion projects safely.
  • God would heal all of those who have COVID-19 and prevent it from spreading.
Fighting COVID-19 Through Handwashing in Colombia

Fighting COVID-19 Through Handwashing in Colombia

For the small town of Palmira in Colombia, water is a scarce resource—which makes fending off a pandemic a difficult task. Thankfully, the brother of a tutor at Peniel Child Development Centre offered a solution in the form of a hands-free washing station.   Read more open_in_new

Crisis Reports from Colombia

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    Gang Violence in Buenaventura, Colombia (Final Crisis Update) 31 Mar, 2021

    The situation

    Since January 2021, two gangs have been fighting for territory in Buenaventura, forcing many families to leave their homes due to the violent gang activity. There is an increasing police presence in the city. Unfortunately, illegal armed groups continue to recruit teenagers and youth.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local church partners affected: 2 Number of Compassion assisted children affected: 262

    New information

    Affected children and families are being supported practically through the local church, who are also providing counseling to the local community during this difficult time.

    Prayer

    Please continue to pray for peace in the area, as well as comfort and support of traumatised people in the community.

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    Heavy Rains in Buenaventura, Colombia 26 Feb, 2021

    The situation

    Throughout February 2021 heavy rains caused flooding in the Buenaventura area. Many homes have been damaged. Fortunately, the rainfall has now decreased and all affected families were able to be supported.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local church partners affected: 0 Number of Compassion assisted children affected: 17

    Prayer

    Please pray for the continued protection over and provision for children, families, and church partners in Buenaventura.

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    Gang Violence in Buenaventura, Colombia (Crisis Update) 26 Feb, 2021

    The situation

    Waves of violence continue in Buenaventura. Hundreds of people have peacefully protested the violence and security in some communities has worsened.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local church partners affected: 2 Number of Compassion assisted children affected: 146

    New information

    The national disaster response team in Colombia is working to ensure church staff are not put at risk. Compassion's national leadership staff (NLT) met with the local pastors to listen to their concerns and pray for them. The church partners need additional support at this time, so the NLT plans to meet with local pastors weekly. The affected families are receiving counseling, spiritual encouragement and tangible support as needed. Some of the national staff and 27 counselors were involved in sessions with security specialists to learn how to deal with violent situations and provide support for children and families.

    Prayer

    Please pray for protection and God’s peace for the pastors, children and families living in the Buenaventura area, as well as other communities who are inundated with violence.

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Please note: Due to the current pandemic, most child development centres in Colombia are temporarily closed. Our local church partners continue to meet the urgent needs of the children through home-based care.

A snapshot of Compassion's Child Sponsorship Program in Colombia

Compassion’s program is contextualised across countries and communities, as well as age groups.

  • Children aged 1 to 3 receive home-based care.
  • Children aged 3 to 11 visit the Compassion centre each weekday when they are not in school.
  • Students aged 12 and older attend the centre for six hours on Saturdays.
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Compassion Program Activities in Colombia

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Compassion assisted children in Colombia typically attend program activities at their local child development centre before or after school. Here is an example of what a typical program day looks like for children in Colombia.

Devotional time - Children are taught to pray.

Spiritual lessons - Children sing songs and learn Bible stories. Children usually receive their own Bible within a year of joining the Child Sponsorship Program.

Break and snack time - Children can play in a safe environment and develop friendships. They are often provided a snack of biscuits and juice.

Social-emotional lessons - Children learn conflict resolution skills and how to develop healthy self-esteem and a godly character. Children often come from challenging home environments and are taught social and personal skills.

Lunch and social time - Children generally receive a snack and lunch at the centre twice a week. Lunch usually consists of rice and beans. If the children do not receive food at school, the local church aims to provide lunch each day.

Health lessons - Children learn practical health and hygiene lessons.

Letter writing and career planning - Older children work with local staff to identify their strengths and interests and set goals for their future.

Children are also encouraged to join in activities such as sports, yearly camps, festivals and spiritual retreats. Students can elect vocational training skills, such as computer maintenance, beauty skills, tailoring, baking and shoe making. Parents and caregivers are invited to workshops on parenting skills.

The greatest needs impacting children living in poverty in Colombia

83

mothers die from pregnancy related causes per 100,000 births

For over five decades, Colombia was wracked by a civil war. The vicious, ongoing fighting left millions of people killed, injured, missing or displaced—many of them children.

The Colombian government estimates that 3.6 million people have been displaced since 2000; 75 per cent are women and children, many of whom now live in shanty towns around major cities and have little access to medical care, education, safe water and basic health services.

FARC (the most notorious and powerful insurgent group) signed a historic peace treaty in 2016 with the government, but splinter groups have rejected the peace deal and trafficking cartels and gangs still control large swaths of the nation. Violence is rising once again. Colombia remains one of the world’s top cocaine producers—and Australia is a significant export market.

Conservative Ivan Duque of the Democratic Centre Party won the Presidential election in 2018, becoming one of the nation’s youngest leaders. So far, his response to the COVID-19 pandemic has won him approval and seen his popularity soar. Yet allegations of vote-rigging and corruption against his administration persist.

And the poorest sections of society, including Colombia’s indigenous people, continue to struggle.

One-third of all Colombian children suffer from anaemia, and approximately 13 per cent of children under five years old suffer growth stunting caused by chronic malnutrition. Around four per cent of children between the ages of five and 14 are involved in child labour, which can interfere with their ability to attend school and expose them to dangerous situations.

Across the country, local churches continue to support and encourage children and their families, reaching out to those in need. With support from Compassion and generous sponsors, these local churches work to release children from poverty in Jesus’ name.

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Stories from Compassion around the world

12 Apr, 2018

What Possessions Do Children Living in Poverty Treasure Most?

From remote, isolated tribal communities to bustling cities and crowded slums, 10 children in our Child Sponsorship Program share their treasured possessions. These are their beautiful, surprising and funny answers... Read more

29 May, 2020

How Will COVID-19 Affect the Developing World's Economy?

The COVID-19 pandemic will have a major impact on those living in poverty, likely for years to come. Learn how... Read more

28 Jan, 2020

The Most Popular Baby Names Around the World!

Every continent has its own customs and quirks, including baby names! Check out the most popular ones for children in child development centres across 25 countries—there’s a lot that can be revealed with just a name... Read more