Latest update

Colombia is experiencing a third wave of COVID-19 and has tightened restrictions until at least 19th April. The department of Antioquia and city of Barranquilla are at the epicentre of the current outbreak. The mayor of Bogota said that city would go into lockdown on 10th April. The average number of deaths reported in the country each day rose by more than 81 to 199 on 5th April. As of that date, Colombia had administered enough doses to fully vaccinate about 2.4% of its 9.1 million people.

Poverty and hunger have increased as a result of the pandemic. In a survey of 34,000 families conducted by humanitarian organizations, 98% said they could not afford all of their basic needs, including food and housing.

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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 2020, they have distributed more than 709,000 food packs and 316,000 hygiene kits to families and have facilitated medical support for nearly 13,000 individuals.

  • 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:

  • Please pray that God would provide work for the caregivers and parents to provide for their families.
  • Pray that God would keep Jordan safe and protected from any harm.
  • Pray for God’s continued healing would be with Sonia’s body and heart as she recovers from an accident that took her mother’s life.
  • Pray that Juliana would recover from her operation and regain full, pain-free mobility in her left knee.
  • Pray that God would be with the doctors as they treat and care for Karime.
  • Pray that God would continue to protect the Colombian people from COVID-19 and prevent it from spreading to others.
  • 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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    Civil Strike in Colombia (Crisis Update) 01 Jun, 2021

    The situation

    Colombia has been experiencing social unrest since April, when tax reforms were announced and violent protests ensued. Food shortages caused by looting and road blockages have impacted local partners, children and families in the affected areas.

    Global Compassion impact

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

    New information

    The National Office has been providing training on safety to the local churches. Families and children have been encouraged not to travel, if possible, to avoid the violence. Staff are keeping in contact with families via phone and social media and finding ways to safely deliver relief items. Local staff have also set aside specific prayer time on Tuesdays to pray for the situation.

    Prayer

    Please continue to pray for the safety of children, families, church partners, staff and the communities throughout Colombia. Pray for a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

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    Civil Strike in Colombia (Crisis Update) 29 May, 2021

    The situation

    Colombia has been experiencing social unrest since April, when tax reforms were announced. Some of the largest trade unions called for a national strike in response to the tax measures. The subsequent protests have resulted in violence and unrest, as well as impacts to public transport, food and fuel availability.

    Global Compassion impact

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

    New information

    Protests continue in Colombia, particularly in Cali and Buenaventura. Cali continues to be the epicentre of the social unrest. Food shortages are still a problem even though some roadblocks were removed. Local staff have arranged prayer times with their local churches, children, families and the community each Tuesday. The National Office is providing training on safety to the local churches.

    Prayer

    Please continue to pray for the safety of children, families, church partners, staff and the communities throughout Colombia.

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    Heavy Rains in Cúcuta and Pacific Coast, Colombia 21 May, 2021

    The situation

    Heavy rains and flooding in Colombia have affected cities such as Cúcuta and Buenaventura. Local church partners supported families through visits and phone calls to assess the impact of the flooding.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local church partners affected: 0 Number of Compassion assisted children affected: 65

    New information

    Local staff are providing relief items and support to affected families.

    Prayer

    Please pray for the affected children and families as they continue in their recovery efforts.

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    Civil Strike in Colombia (Crisis Update) 11 May, 2021

    The situation

    Colombia has been experiencing social unrest since April, when tax reforms were announced. Some of the largest trade unions called for a national strike in response to the tax measures. The subsequent protests have resulted in violence and unrest, as well as impacts to public transport, food and fuel availability.

    Global Compassion impact

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

    New information

    Protests are continuing throughout Colombia in major cities and on highways. Fortunately, food trucks and healthcare vehicles are being allowed through. Local staff continue to maintain close contact with affected children and families to provide appropriate support and guidance. Compassion's National Office in Colombia has hosted prayer meetings with local churches to pray for peace.

    Prayer

    Please pray for the protection and provision of affected children, staff and their families, as well as for peace within the wider community in the main city centres in Colombia.

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    Continued Heavy Rains in Colombia (Crisis Update) 05 May, 2021

    The situation

    Recent heavy rains attributed to La Niña have caused flooding and landslides in several areas of Colombia, including the towns of Urabá, Antioquia, Barranquilla, Bolivar, Sucre, & Buenaventura. These areas are still on alert for rain, flooding and landslides. Many homes have been damaged ue to the rain and flooding.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local church partners affected: 1 Number of Compassion assisted children affected: 143

    New information The biggest need of impacted families is for food and materials to repair their homes. Local church partners are supporting families with their basic needs, as well as working with the Colombian government to secure additional aid.

    Prayer

    Please pray for the affected children and families as they continue in their recovery efforts.

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    Civil Strike in Colombia 28 Apr, 2021

    The situation

    Colombia has been experiencing social unrest since April, when tax reforms were announced. Some of the largest trade unions called for a national strike in response to the tax measures. The subsequent protests have resulted in violence, unrest and food shortages, as well as impacts to public transport availability.

    Global Compassion impact

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

    New information

    Local staff are assisting affected children and families, in particular in regard to food shortages.

    Prayer

    Please pray for the protection and provision of affected children, staff and their families, as well as for peace within the wider community in the main city centres in Colombia.

  • update icon

    Heavy Rains in Colombia (Crisis Update) 28 Apr, 2021

    The situation

    Recent heavy rains attributed to La Niña have caused flooding and landslides in several areas of Colombia. Many homes were damaged. The local government is assisting affected families.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local church partners affected: 0 Number of Compassion assisted children affected: 104

    New information The local church partners provided practical, emotional and spritiual support to affected children and their families. Items such as food packs, mattresses and roof repair materials continue to be distributed as needed.

    Prayer

    Please pray for the affected children and families as they continue in their recovery efforts.

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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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