Latest update

Government restrictions during the pandemic have slowly eased in Colombia as vaccination rates rise. COVID-19 case numbers peaked in June 2021 with over 33,000 daily cases reported. To protect the health of children, families and staff, and in order to follow local guidelines, most child development centres in Colombia continue to support children through remote contact and home visits where possible.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, local workers have distributed over 1,182,000 food packs and over 560,000 hygiene kits to help families in poverty.

Watch the latest video update from Colombia below to learn more.

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Country update

How is Compassion currently operating in Colombia?

  • Are Compassion centres open?

    Some Compassion centres have reopened for small groups to gather while adhering to COVID-19 safety measures, but many remain closed. Staff members have created online 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.

  • 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 as normal. 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:

  • Please pray that God would provide work for caregivers and parents so that they can provide for their families.
  • Pray for healing for a child who has a severe case of dengue fever.
  • Pray that God would continue to protect and keep the children and their families impacted by the heavy rains healthy and safe.
  • Pray for encouragement and peace for mothers as they work through the emotional and physical effects they are experiencing after having their babies.
  • Pray that God would heal and restore the health of several pastors and staff members who have COVID-19.
  • Pray for God’s continued wisdom and protection for the National Office staff as they care for and support the staff, volunteers, children and their families.
  • Pray for comfort for those who are grieving the passing of loved ones due to COVID-19.
  • Pray that God would restore peace and bring economic stability to Colombia.
  • Pray for wisdom and discernment for government officials as they work to protect and serve the Colombian people.
  • God's guidance and wisdom for local church partner staff and leadership as they determine when and how to reopen their Compassion projects safely.
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

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Please note: Due to the current pandemic, some child development centres in Colombia are temporarily unable to host group activities. 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

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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

01 Sep, 2017

Nick Vujicic: Hugs Without Limbs in Colombia

Nick Vujicic and José are young men with lives seemingly worlds apart. Yet both have had to overcome huge challenges: Nick was born without limbs, and José was born into extreme poverty. Watch what happens when the two meet... Read more

28 Mar, 2019

25 Photos of Family Dinner Time Everyone Should See

Take a journey around the world at dinner time. Your dining table and kitchen may not look like this, but for these families living in poverty, it’s the time where the laughter and good times occur despite their hardship. .. Read more

02 Jun, 2020

Will COVID-19 Lead to Increased Poverty?

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has left millions struggling with unemployment and uncertainty. But what will it mean for our world's most vulnerable citizens—children living in poverty?.. Read more