Latest update

Government restrictions during the pandemic have slowly eased in Colombia as vaccination rates rise. To protect the health of children, families and staff, and to follow local guidelines, most child development centres in Colombia have been supporting children through small group activities, remote contact, printed learning material, radio programs or home visits.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, local workers have distributed over 1,457,000 food packs and over 629,000 hygiene kits to help families in poverty.

Letters between children and sponsors were delayed during the pandemic because staff were unable to access the printers at the Compassion Colombia National Office. Local staff are now permitted to return to their offices in person and have begun printing and translating thousands of heartfelt letters from supporters around the world.

We are hopeful that within the next three to six months, communications between Colombian sponsored children and their sponsors will be more regular.

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

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Country update

Crisis Reports from Colombia

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    Heavy Rains in Anitoquia and North of Colombia (Final Update) 09 May, 2022

    The situation

    Due to heavy rainfall in Antioquia, Colombia, many Compassion assisted families have been impacted by flood damage. Our local church partners are working to provide spiritual and physical support to all those impacted.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local church partners affected: 0
    Number of Compassion assisted children affected: 103

    New information

    Our local church partners have collected donations within the community, providing drinking water for impacted children and families. Blankets, mattresses and hygiene kits have been distributed to those in need of support.

    Prayer

    Please pray for our local church partners as they continue to support impacted families and pray for peace as the community recovers from damages.

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    Heavy Rains in Medellin-Uraba, Colombia 09 May, 2022

    The situation

    Heavy rain in Medellin-Eraba, Colombia, has caused road damage in the city. 33 Compassion assisted children and families have been impacted by the disaster, with families living close to the riverbed at particular risk of further damage.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local church partners affected: 0
    Number of Compassion assisted children affected: 33

    New information

    Our local church partners are taking a census to establish the total number of people impacted and are working to meet basic needs with water supplies and cleaning kits.

    Prayer

    Please pray for the children and families impacted by the heavy rain and pray that our church partners are able to continue to support those in need.

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, radio programs and devotionals to support children and their families.

  • 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:

  • Pray that God would continue to allow Magangué to recover quickly from her brain surgery.
  • Pray that God would bless Alis’ parents with job opportunities to provide for their family.
  • Pray that God would provide the right doctor to help a local worker who requires surgery.
  • Pray for healing and wisdom for a centre director as they work to manage their blood pressure.
  • Pray for comfort and peace for Maria and her family as they grieve her father’s passing.
  • Pray that God would provide the medicine José’s daughter needs to treat severe dermatitis.
  • Pray that God would bring 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.
  • Pray for protection and safety of the Colombian people during heavy rains.
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 COVID-19 pandemic, some child development centres in Colombia are temporarily unable to host large group activities. Our local church partners continue to meet the holistic needs of registered children through smaller group activities or 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

16%

of rural households lack access to basic sanitation

14

children under the age of 5 die per 1,000 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

14 Mar, 2018

Why Do My Sponsored Child's Letters Sound the Same?

It can be disappointing if your sponsored child hasn’t responded to your questions or even mentioned the letter you sent them. Here’s why this could be happening, plus handy tips to prevent it. .. Read more

24 Jan, 2018

Why Doesn't Compassion Work in Conflict Zones?

Nearly one in every nine children live in a conflict zone. So why does Compassion only choose to work in stable communities?.. Read more