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The only South American country with coastlines on both the Atlantic and the Pacific, Colombia is the point where North and South America meet. The varied terrain contains the Andes Mountains, coastal lowlands, flat plains, and rainforests.
Political and social unrest continues to plague Colombia. Violence with rebel fighters and drug traders has forced about 3 million people to abandon their homes — one of the highest rates of internally displaced people in the world.
About 12 percent of the Colombian workforce is unemployed, and almost half of the population lives below the poverty line.
Colombia has one of the highest levels of income inequality in the world.
Rural schools lack sufficient classroom space and qualified teachers, causing many children to drop out.
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Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors. World Vision was able to work alongside communities to accomplish the following in 2012.
Advocated for child protection among adults in the community, so kids living there can feel safe and loved.
Established youth networks to help kids and teens learn about their rights.
Encouraged peace among children by conducting anti-bullying campaigns in schools and providing safe spaces in the community for kids to enjoy positive after-school activities.
Provided training in job skills and business management for parents, equipping them to boost their income and improve the quality of life for their children.
Worked to reduce school drop-out rates by informing parents and children about the importance of education.
Educated moms and dads on ways to identify childhood diseases and how to respond. Also trained healthcare workers on how to treat the diseases so more young children can survive and thrive.
Conducted community fundraising campaigns, bringing local men and women together to raise money for the most vulnerable families who were suffering from the harsh winter, providing opportunities for people to give back and contribute to those in need around them.
World Vision is committed to partnering with the people of Colombia to improve their lives today and to help enact sustainable solutions for the future of their children, families, and communities. World Vision’s child sponsorship program plays a vital role in this partnership, with donors from the United States sponsoring more than 20,300 girls and boys. In addition to sponsorship, World Vision operates other programs that benefit communities in Colombia. Highlights include:
World Vision began serving in Colombia in 1960 with a conference for pastors in Medellin. Since then, some of World Vision’s major accomplishments include:
Geography and people
The only South American country with coastlines on both the Atlantic and the Pacific, Colombia is the point where North and South America meet. The varied terrain contains the Andes Mountains, coastal lowlands, flat plains, and tropical rainforests.
Natural resources are plentiful and include petroleum, natural gas, coal, iron ore, gold, copper, and hydropower.
Most Colombians are of mixed Spanish and Native American ancestry. Other ethnic groups include Caucasians, mulattos, Afro-Colombians, and indigenous Amerindians.
The country’s official language is Spanish. Colombia has the second largest number of Spanish speakers in the world after Mexico. Some Colombians also speak German, French, and various indigenous languages.
Colombians take pride in being a creative, warm, and optimistic people. Families are close-knit and extended families often live nearby. Children usually do not move out of their parents’ home until they marry.
Colombia, formerly named New Granada, won its independence from Spain after a revolution that lasted from 1810 to 1824. Six civil wars marked the decades after independence, with the worst fighting coming in the middle of the 20th century.
La Violencia, a period of political rebellion between the Liberals and the Conservatives, broke out in 1946, lasting for about 12 years and claiming hundreds of thousands of lives. After this period, Marxist guerilla groups—notably the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)—organized in the 1960s and 1970s and continued internal conflicts.
In the 1980s, Colombia became one of the international centers for illegal drug production and trafficking. In 2002, the president pledged to crack down on rebel fighters and drug traffickers. He increased Colombia’s security forces and applied military pressure on FARC.
Today, the government continues to deal with internal tensions and social issues.