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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.
Political and social unrest continues to plague Colombia. 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.
Organized sports and art programs to develop children’s talents, strengthen their social skills, and promote positive use of free time.
Trained teachers in peaceful conflict resolution, improving the learning environment.
Helped young people find jobs by training them in fabric printing and office administration.
Trained young people and adults in accounting, customer service, and marketing, equipping them for entrepreneurship.
Held workshops to teach families about parenting techniques, child rights, and conflict management.
Trained youth mentors and peer educators to advocate for child rights and promote a culture of peace.
Trained caregivers in nutrition, disease prevention, and healthcare rights.
Supplied food to community nutrition centers, helping restore malnourished children to health.
Distributed Bibles to children, enabling them to study God's Word and encouraging them to participate in local church programs.
Monitored children's health and helped them access medical treatment.
Collaborated with health agencies to immunize children against deadly diseases.
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.