Colombia

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.

  • Population: 47,704,400
  • Life Expectancy: 74 years
  • Access to Safe Water: 93%
  • School Enrollment: 90%
  • Land Mass: 439,736 sq. mi.
  • Literacy Rate: 94%
  • Under Age 5 Mortality Rate: 18/1000
  • Average Annual Income (GNI): 6,990

Facts about Colombia

Child Protection

Inequality, violence, and poverty affects 55 percent of the population. The most vulnerable are children and adolescents.

Disaster Response

Colombia has had internal armed conflict for more than five decades. This has forced many people from their homes. The number of people in displacement may reach 5 million.

Economic Development

Colombia has one of the highest levels of income inequality in the world.

Education

Rural schools lack sufficient classroom space and qualified teachers, causing many children to drop out.

Colombia flag

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Progress in Colombia

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.

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    World Vision in Colombia Today

    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 22,000 girls and boys. In addition to sponsorship, World Vision operates other programs that benefit communities in Colombia. Highlights include:

    • Helping families and communities recover from natural disasters.
    • Strengthening the quality of education and providing children with school supplies.
    • Training children and adolescents to respond to natural disasters and other emergencies.
    • Monitoring the health and vaccination status of 100 percent of children involved in sponsorship programs.

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    World Vision History in Colombia

    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:

    • Offering child sponsorship programs since 1971.
    • Providing families affected by earthquakes with relief supplies and helping them rebuild their communities during the 1970s.
    • Providing thousands of Colombians with educational opportunities, health and hygiene products, and recreational activities for children in the 1980s.
    • Assisting women affected by rebel violence with workshops on health education, literacy training, and business skills in the 1990s.
    • Addressing the physical, economic, social, emotional, and spiritual needs of families affected by a major earthquake in 1999.
    • Improving water and sanitation systems, building schools, and offering community training for thousands of Colombians displaced by civil conflict since the beginning of the 21st century.

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    Geography & People

    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, 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.

    History

    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.

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    Prayer Requests for Colombia

    • For peace to be reached in negotiations between the government and an armed opposition group, and that land restitution for displaced peoples will be agreed upon.
    • For brighter opportunities for the nearly 1 million boys and girls involved in child labor.
    • For the country to recover from damage caused by major rainstorms.
    • For families who have been displaced by the continuous civil conflict.