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: 46,295,000
  • Life Expectancy: 73 years
  • Access to Safe Water: 92%
  • School Enrollment: 93%
  • Land Mass: 493,737 sq. mi.
  • Literacy Rate: 93%
  • Under Age 5 Mortality Rate: 19/1000
  • Average Annual Income (GNI): 5,510

Facts about Colombia

Disaster Response

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.

Economic Development

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.

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.

  • 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.

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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 20,300 girls and boys. In addition to sponsorship, World Vision operates other programs that benefit communities in Colombia. Highlights include:

    • Improving children's health by ensuring that 100% of children, adolescents and youth receive health care and vaccinations.
    • Strengthening the quality of education and providing children with school supplies.
    • Preventing child labor and enrolling children in educational programs.
    • Enriching individuals by providing psychological, medical and spiritual counseling.

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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, 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.

    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

    • The country to recover from the damage caused by major rainstorms.
    • Families who have been displaced by the continuous civil conflict.