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Snapshot of Colombia

64

mothers die from pregnancy related causes per 100,000 births

19%

lack access to improved sanitation

16

children under the age of five die per 1000 births

For over five decades, Colombia was wracked by a civil war fought on multiple fronts between government forces, rebel paramilitary groups and drug-trafficking cartels. The vicious, ongoing fighting left millions of people killed, injured, disappeared or displaced—many of them children.

While a shaky peace has held over the past two years, Colombia is grappling with the fallout of decades of violence and is in great need of prayer.

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.

Trafficking cartels and gangs still control large swaths of the nation, although FARC (the most powerful insurgent group) has largely demobilised and others have been weakened. Colombia remains one of the world’s top cocaine producers—and Australia is a significant export market.

One-third of all Colombian children are anaemic, and approximately 13 per cent of children under five years old suffer growth stunting caused by chronic malnutrition. Almost one in 10 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.

The country has recently been through Congressional elections, and the presidential election will take place on 27 May 2018. President Juan Manuel Santos can’t be re-elected, having served two consecutive terms. Instead, conservative Ivan Duque of the Democratic Center party will face off against Gustavo Petro of the Colombia Humana party.

Carlos Escobar

Letter from Compassion Colombia Director Jose Carrasco

Greetings in Jesus’ name! My name is Jose Carrasco. I am the South America Area Director and I’ve been privileged to serve as the Interim Country Director of Colombia since 2014. I was born in Peru. I am married to Laura and we have two wonderful children, Jose Alonso and Natalia. I am proud to inform you that Compassion has been serving Colombia for 43 years.

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Mateo’s Transformation

When he was just 14, Mateo Lopera Agudelo began using drugs. “Every day, I advised my children about the danger of drugs. I could not understand why my son made the decision to use drugs. What did I do wrong?” asks his mother, Gladys. In the community of Currulao, Colombia where Mateo lives, drug use is a big issue.

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Prayer requests for Colombia

  • Please pray for three babies in the Mothers and Babies programs who are suffering serious health problems. Dilan was born with a condition called Equinovalgus Foot, which requires surgery. Another baby has been diagnosed with kidney cysts, while another is suffering from malnourishment and seizures. Please pray for these precious babies, that God will bring healing and will give strength to their families.
  • Please pray for a Child Development Centre in Medellín, where children and staff are suffering from frequent gang violence. Pray for God’s protection over the staff and children, and pray also for the gangs - that God’s transforming love will powerfully change the gang culture in the region.
  • Pray for God’s provision as unemployment in the country continues to rise. Pray for families who are unable to afford their basic needs; ask God to work powerfully in providing job opportunities for adults and education for children.
  • Please continue to pray for the families of three compassion assisted boys who tragically passed away this year, due to incurable medical conditions. Please pray for their families as they continue to grieve; pray for strength, comfort and peace.
  • Pray for Colombian families during the wet season, which causes flooding and disease outbreak (such as dengue fever). Pray for God’s protection and provision.