Latest update

A Colombian government official announced on 8 September that the country has passed its peak of infection, as the daily increase in new cases is declining. Colombia recently lifted its national health emergency, allowing all sectors of the economy to return to work. In Bogota, where the majority of cases have been reported, restrictions remain in place to control overcrowding in stores. The country plans to reopen its border to international flights on 21 September.

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COVID-19 in Colombia

How is Compassion currently operating in Colombia?

  • Are Compassion centres open?

    All Compassion centre activities are on hold.

    Partner churches 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 345,969 food packs and 183,376 hygiene kits to families and have facilitated medical support for 6,257 individuals.

    In areas where they cannot deliver food, they have provided families with vouchers to be used in local markets. Staff members have created activity kits for children to do at home, and some centres have held virtual birthday celebrations. Additionally, staff and church partners are working to develop online curriculum lessons and devotionals for registered children and their families, and they are making daily calls to check in them.

  • 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:

  • Continue to pray for comfort and strength for Yarelis’ family as they grieve her passing.
  • Rosario's family as they grieve and are devastated by her sudden passing.
  • God would protect and keep the children and families who live in La Guajira safe from flooding during the heavy rains.
  • Doctors as they prepare and provide Pastor Roberto with the life-saving bone marrow transplant he needs to treat his Leukemia. Pray that the treatment would be successful, and Pastor Roberto would be healed from Leukemia.
  • Centre staff and pastors as they continue to connect with the children through phone calls, video, or visiting the child’s home to provide food baskets, water, hygiene items, and medicine.
  • Doctors would be able to diagnosis Catalina’s mother-in-law soon, and they would be able to provide her with the treatment she needs.
  • God would continue to inspire and bring creativity to the National Office staff as they continue to serve and work from home.
  • God would give wisdom and discernment to the leaders of Colombia as they begin to make decisions to reopen and reduce restrictions while keeping the people safe and healthy.
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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    Social Unrest in Colombia (Crisis Update) 17 Sep, 2020

    The situation

    The cities are mostly calm this week, with some candle vigils and less protests.

    Global Compassion impact

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

    New information

    Fortunately, no children, families, staff or church partners have been directly affected. All are taking precautions to stay away from areas of protests.

    Prayer

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

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    Heavy Rains and Strong Winds in the Caribbean and Andean Regions, Colombia (Crisis Update) 11 Sep, 2020

    The situation

    The rainy season continues to bring heavy rain throughout Colombia.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local church partners affected: 0 Number of Compassion assisted children affected: 130

    New information

    The affected families are living in temporary shelters. The local church have supported the families with food and water, as well as emotional and spiritual counselling.

    Prayer

    Please continue to pray for the safety and provision of affected children and families.

  • update icon

    Social Unrest in Colombia 09 Sep, 2020

    The situation

    Social unrest was triggered by protesters clashing with police on 9 and 10 September.

    Global Compassion impact

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

    New information

    Fortunately, no church partners, children or families have been impacted.

    Prayer

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

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    Heavy Rains and Strong Winds in Caribbean and Andean Regions, Colombia 13 Aug, 2020

    The situation

    In the northern regions of Colombia they have been experiencing heavy rains and strong winds. The wind has blown roofs off homes and flooding has further damaged homes.

    Global Compassion impact

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

    New information

    The staff of CO0540 and CO0521 are assessing impact to children and their families.

    Prayer

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

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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

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

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