Latest update

Colombia has reported over 1.38 million COVID-19 infections and more than 38,000 related deaths on 9 December. The Colombian government has lifted travel restrictions, but the national health emergency remains in place until 28 February 2021. It is estimated that one in 10 Colombians lost their job during the pandemic. The government is developing a five-year economic recovery plan.

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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 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 478,000 food packs and 236,400 hygiene kits to families and have facilitated medical support for 8500 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:

  • More than 700 children and their families who have lost their homes and belongings in the recent hurricanes and heavy rains.
  • God would allow each child suffering from sexual abuse at home to be seen and known so proper action can take place to prevent future abuse.
  • God would bring peace and comfort to Cristian’s family as they grieve his sudden passing.
  • God would heal Yodis from her brain cancer so she will not have trouble seeing or walking.
  • Doctors would quickly diagnose and treat the cause of Mareldy’s internal bleeding.
  • God’s continued protection for the pastors and staff who are working to bring necessary supplies and support to the children and their families.
  • God would heal and allow the doctors to determine the reason for a staff member’s kidney pain.
  • Praise God for restoring complete health to Yein’s mother, who was suffering from a brain tumor.
  • 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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    Hurricane Iota in Colombia (Final Crisis Update) 23 Dec, 2020

    The situation

    The Islands of San Andres and Providencia continue in their recovery efforts.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local church partners affected: 0 Number of Compassion assisted children affected: 127

    New information

    Local church partners supported the affected families, as well as some unregistered children, in Cartagena. Compassion does not have church partners on the islands that were most affected.

    Prayer

    Thank you for your prayers for the affected children and their families.

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    Fire at Riosucio, Choco, Colombia (Final Crisis Update) 22 Dec, 2020

    The situation

    The local government provided temporary rent payments for some affected families with damaged homes.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local church partners affected: 0 Number of Compassion assisted children affected: 7

    New information

    The affected families received psychological and physical support from the church. They also received food, kitchen kits, mats and sheets.

    Prayer

    Thank you for your prayers for the affected children and families, as well as continued prayer for the grieving family.

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    Fire at CO0514, Barranquilla, Colombia (Final Crisis Update) 22 Dec, 2020

    The situation

    A fire started by an electrical short in a socket caused significant damage to a church and surrounding area.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local church partners affected: 2 Number of Compassion assisted children affected: 0

    New information

    The local church worked with the community to get paint and labour donations to repair the building. Compassion provided hygiene kits to the local church partner staff.

    Prayer

    Thank you for your prayers for the affected church partners.

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    Fire at CO0514, Barranquilla, Colombia (Crisis Update) 15 Dec, 2020

    The situation

    A fire started by an electrical short in a socket caused significant damage to a church and surrounding area.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local church partners affected: 2 Number of Compassion assisted children affected: 0

    New information

    The church partner has inspected the damages and determined that 45 child folders burned, as well as the computer and other equipment owned by CO0597. (As a COVID-19 measure, the church plant CO0597 administrative staff had their computer and files at CO0514 facility since it is located closer to their homes in Barranquilla so they didn’t have to travel as far.) The church staff have removed ash, soot, and all damaged materials.

    Prayer

    Please pray for the local church partners as they restore the facility and replace their lost equipment.

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    Heavy Rains in Andean and Pacific Regions, Colombia (Crisis Update) 10 Dec, 2020

    The situation

    The rainy season continues and is expected to subside in March 2021. Fortunately, the rainfall has decreased.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local church partners affected: 0 Number of Compassion assisted children affected: 112

    New information

    Local church partners and national staff continue to support affected families, as needed.

    Prayer

    Please continue to pray for the children, families and church partners as they handle the weather disturbances and damages.

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    Fire at CO0514, Barranquilla, Colombia 04 Dec, 2020

    The situation

    A fire started by an electrical short in a socket caused significant damage to a church and surrounding area.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local church partners affected: 1 Number of Compassion assisted children affected: 0

    New information

    The local church is assessing damages, as well as the loss of furniture and other equipment.

    Prayer

    Please pray for the church partner staff as they clean and restore their buildings, as well as recover from the damages and losses.

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    Fire in Riosucio, Choco, Colombia (Crisis Update) 04 Dec, 2020

    The situation

    The governor declared a state of calamity and the government is supporting the affected families with food and toilet kits.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local church partners affected: 0 Number of Compassion assisted children affected: 7

    New information

    Sadly, one Compassion assisted child passed away in the fire. Her family is being comforted and supported by the church. The affected families are living in temporary shelters. The local church partners are supporting the families by mobilising local resources. And, Disaster Relief funding was used to provide water, foam mats, sheets, and household items.

    Prayer

    Please continue to pray for provision for the affected families and God’s peace for those grieving.

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    Hurricane Eta in Colombia (Final Crisis Update) 04 Dec, 2020

    The situation

    The Caribbean coast in northern Colombia experienced heavy rains when Hurricane Eta passed through the region.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local church partners affected: 3 Number of Compassion assisted children affected: 771

    New information

    Local church partners supported the affected families. Disaster Relief funding was utilised to provide relief items such as food kits and mats.

    Prayer

    Thank you for your prayers and support for the affected children, families, church partners, and staff.

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    Hurricane Iota in Colombia (Crisis Update) 04 Dec, 2020

    The situation

    The Islands of San Andres and Providence were the most affected with 90 per cent destruction and the national government is providing resources for reconstruction. The city of Cartagena was most affected by flooding.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local church partners affected: 0 Number of Compassion assisted children affected: 127

    New information

    Local church partners have been supporting the affected families and the national office utilised Disaster Relief funding to provide drinkable water and mats.

    Prayer

    Please continue to pray for the church partners as they support affected children and families.

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    Fire in Riosucio, Choco, Colombia 29 Nov, 2020

    The situation

    Dozens of homes were destroyed by a large fire in Riosucio, Choco. It is presumed the fire was started by a power failure on an electrical pole in the community. Unfortunately, there is no fire station in the municipality, which made it more difficult to extinguish the fire quickly.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local church partners affected: not yet confirmed Number of Compassion assisted children affected: not yet confirmed

    New information

    Local church partners CO0720 and CO0722 are checking with families to determine impact.

    Prayer

    Please pray for the safety and provision of the affected children, families, and church partners.

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    Hurricane Eta in Colombia (Crisis Update) 20 Nov, 2020

    The situation

    The local government is providing humanitarian response and backhoes to remove dirt and destroyed homes.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local church partners affected: 3 Number of Compassion assisted children affected: 751

    New information

    Local church partners have provided food packs and temporary shelter for the affected families.

    Prayer

    Please continue to pray for the protection and provision for all affected children, families, and church partners, as the impacted communities are still at high risk.

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    Heavy Rains in Andean and Pacific Regions, Colombia (Crisis Update) 19 Nov, 2020

    The situation

    Heavy rains continue throughout the country, with several areas on Red Alert.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local church partners affected: 0 Number of Compassion assisted children affected: 67

    New information

    Local church partners are taking preventative measures and continuing to assess the impact to children, so they can support them appropriately.

    Prayer

    Please pray for the protection and provision for children, families, church partners and staff.

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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

03 May, 2018

How One Teenager Quit Drugs and Dedicated His Life to God

As a 14 year old in small-town Colombia, Mateo fell into the trap of trying drugs with his friends and spiralled into addiction. But God had a plan to restore and redeem him through the love of his local church family... Read more