Where We Work

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.

open_in_new Read full letter

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.

open_in_new Read more

Prayer requests for Colombia

  • Please pray for the upcoming presidential election. The peace agreement (between the government and the FARC guerrilla-group-turned-political-party) could be affected by the change of president. May God give the people wisdom in this important decision. Pray for a peaceful, free and fair election process.
  • Please pray for the family of William Acosta, a Compassion assisted boy who recently passed away. Please pray for strength and peace for his family and friends in their grief; pray that God will comfort them and that their local church will surround them with support.
  • Pray for Pastor Juan Rivera’s son, who is four years old and has been suffering seizures. Doctors recently discovered a cyst in his brain and have begun treatment; please pray for the boy and his family, for healing and strength.
  • Please pray for several registered children and their caregivers who have been ill for a long time and were recently diagnosed to be HIV-positive. Pray that they will receive the medication and support they need for their physical health, and that they will find the friendship and love they need to be spiritually and emotionally healthy, too.
  • Please pray for communities and churches who have been affected by violence and gang activity. Pray especially for safety and protection for the children; pray that God will empower His people to bring peace and hope to their neighbours and nation.