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.
Inequality, violence, and poverty affects 55 percent of the population. The most vulnerable are children and adolescents. Additionally, Colombia has had internal armed conflict for more than five decades. This has forced many people from their homes, and the number of people in displacement may reach 5 million.
Colombia has one of the highest levels of income inequality in the world.
Rural schools in Colombia 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 2014.
Children and youth attended sessions to become aware of their rights and influence decisions that affect their lives.
Children, youth, and parents were trained in risk management to be more prepared when disasters occur in the community.
Children, youth, and their families took part in workshops to increase their income-generating options and learn more about business management. Trainings included courses in jewelry making, footwear manufacturing, tailoring, and cosmetology.
We helped school and community groups work together to ensure that children had access to education and stayed in school.
Malnourished children received nutritional supplements and their parents attended health education about diet and medical care.
Children received extra support to help them succeed in school, such as classes on developing good study habits and extra tutoring in their basic subjects.
Parents learned how to better protect their children's health by taking classes offered by World Vision-trained community health workers on disease prevention and treatment.
Local churches partnered with World Vision to teach children and their families about responsibility, self-esteem, and the love of Jesus Christ.
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:
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, 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.