Latest update

Average daily COVID-19 cases in Colombia have been decreasing for the past 3 weeks, with the country now reporting 17,900 cases per day as of July 19th. This is down from 27,000 in early June. Also as of July 19th, Colombia has fully vaccinated over 23% of its 9.1 million people, up from 11% reported on June 7th. COVID restrictions are being phased out. The country is hoping to reopen schools in person near the end of July and is allowing fairly normal operations in stores and restaurants. As a reason for this early change, government leaders have cited increased poverty related to the pandemic and six weeks of protests.

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Country update

Crisis Reports from Colombia

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    Civil Strike in Colombia (Crisis Update) 18 Aug, 2021

    The situation

    Tax reforms announced in April during the COVID-19 crisis across Colombia caused social unrest, national strikes and violent protests. Food shortages and road blockages impacted our local partners, children and families in the affected areas. In some areas, group activities were temporarily paused at child development centres to ensure the safety of staff and children. Staff kept in contact with families via phone, social media and home visits where possible.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local church partners affected: 4 Number of Compassion assisted children affected: 3,234

    New information

    Demonstrations have decreased in Colombia, road blockades on major highways have stopped and food supply chain processes are getting back to normal. However, food prices remain high. New COVID-19 cases are reported daily but the rate is decreasing. National Office staff and local church partners continue to address the multidimensional needs of children and families in Colombia at this time.

    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 unrest.

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    Heavy Rains in Bolivar and Córdoba in Colombia 10 Aug, 2021

    The situation

    Heavy rains in the northern part of Colombia in mid-August caused damage to homes and belongings in Bolivar and Córdoba. The Cauca River overflowed causing flooding in several other municipalities.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local church partners affected: 2 Number of Compassion assisted children affected: 262

    New information

    Our local church partners have been working with the National Office to assess the impact and deliver appropriate support to affected children and their families. Relief items such as food kits and mattresses have been delivered.

    Prayer

    Please pray for those affected by the recent heavy rains and flooding in Colombia as they recover.

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    Hurricane Elsa Causes Strong Winds and Rain in Colombia (Final Crisis Report) 08 Aug, 2021

    The situation

    Hurricane Elsa passed through the Caribbean in early July, causing heavy rain, strong winds and flooding in Northern Colombia. Local church partners assessed the impact of the hurricane to children and families in thir communities in order to determine their immediate needs.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local church partners affected: 1 Number of Compassion assisted children affected: 216

    New information

    Compassion Colombia's emergency team provided guidance for the delivery of aid to affected children and their families, such as food, water, household items and materials to repair damages to their homes.

    Prayer

    Thank you for your prayer over Colombia following Hurricane Elsa. Please continue to pray for those affected as they recover and repair any damage.

How is Compassion currently operating in Colombia?

  • Are Compassion centres open?

    A few Compassion centres have reopened for small groups to gather while adhering to COVID-19 safety measures, but the majority remain closed. Staff members have created online lessons 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 almost 895,000 food packs and over 373,000 hygiene kits to families and have facilitated medical support for nearly 21,000 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 caregivers and parents so that they can provide for their families.
  • Pray for healing for a child who has a severe case of dengue fever.
  • Pray that God would continue to protect and keep the children and their families impacted by the heavy rains healthy and safe.
  • Pray for encouragement and peace for mothers as they work through the emotional and physical effects they are experiencing after having their babies.
  • Pray that God would heal and restore the health of several pastors and staff members who have COVID-19.
  • Pray for God’s continued wisdom and protection for the National Office staff as they care for and support the staff, volunteers, children and their families.
  • Pray for comfort for those who are grieving the passing of loved ones due to COVID-19.
  • Pray that God would restore 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.
  • God's guidance and wisdom for local church partner staff and leadership as they determine when and how to reopen their Compassion projects safely.
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 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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28 Jan, 2020

The Most Popular Baby Names Around the World!

Every continent has its own customs and quirks, including baby names! Check out the most popular ones for children in child development centres across 25 countries—there’s a lot that can be revealed with just a name... 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

23 Apr, 2018

Have You Sent These Things to Your Sponsored Child?

Wondering what you can send to your sponsored child? Read on for the items you can include with your letters, plus learn what not to send... Read more