Last Updated: 03/23/2021 

Poverty and hunger have increased in Colombia as a result of the pandemic. In a survey of 34,000 families conducted by humanitarian organisations, 98% said they could not afford all of their basic needs, including food and housing. Crowded living conditions among families in poverty increases the risk of spreading COVID-19. The state of Amazonas has the highest rate of infection in the country. Colombia reported 42,009 active cases of COVID-19 on March 4. A total of 60,082 persons have died of COVID-related causes. Colombia began its vaccination program in February, and the government aims to vaccinate 35 million people this year. 

All Compassion center activities are on hold. Staff members have created online curriculum lessons and devotionals. 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 2020, they have distributed more than 654,000 food packs and 296,000 hygiene kits to families and have facilitated medical support for over 11,000 individuals. 

How is Compassion Currently Operating in Colombia?

Below, you will find the latest information on how Compassion is currently operating in Colombia, including status updates on center openings, letter delivery and gift delivery. This is the most current information we have, though it can change quickly. Please know that all children and their families are being checked in on regularly by staff, either in person or by phone, even if the Compassion center is not open for programming.

Are Compassion Centers Open?

Currently, all centers in Colombia are closed. Staff members are interacting with children and youths through online activities, including videos and livestreams. They continue to call and check in on families and make home visits. Because of the generous support of sponsors and donors, they have been able to distribute about 654,000 food packs and 296,000 hygiene kits to 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 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. In some communities, staff members have needed to disburse monetary gifts to an appropriate, verified caregiver. 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 be notified whether a gift has been designated as a child gift or family gift. The caregiver will decide the best use of the money, recognizing that sometimes purchasing food or paying rent is in the best interest of a child.

Story From the Field

“Jesus heard us! Jesus heard us! There is water!" Those were the cries that greeted Pastor Enis and the Compassion center staff as they arrived in the desert community of Manaure, Colombia, bringing food and water. Families there had been drinking saltwater for days, and some children were sick.

For parents in Manaure, providing food and water for their families is not an easy task. Most of them have no formal jobs. They work in the salt mines, sell the coal they make at home, or build houses in the community, barely making enough to pay for their families' needs. Most of the wells there are contaminated, and families must buy water to drink or risk getting sick from drinking polluted water.

Concerned by the poverty in that region, Compassion partnered with a local church and registered 150 children. They planned to start activities in June. However, the COVID-19 pandemic changed their plans, keeping the doors of the center closed.

Nevertheless, the pastors and center staff are helping families. With the resources they received from Compassion, they prepared food baskets for children, including rice, beans, cornmeal, pasta, bags of drinkable water, and more. Then they carried out the food in wooden wagons to reach each child.

Pastor Enis was moved by the welcome she and the staff received. “I remember a child who told me, ‘Pastor, this is God's answer for us. Yesterday we did not eat anything, and my mom told my dad that she believed the blessing was on the way. And then you came with the food for us today.’ For us it is a blessing to show children and families the love of God through a food basket or bags of water, being God’s answer to those families' prayers,” she says.

How can I pray for Colombia?

Pray for God’s continued protection of the pastors and staff who are working to bring necessary supplies and support to the children and their families.

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