Bogotá is the largest and capital city of Colombia with a population of 7 million. Bogota is situation in the Andes Mountain range; it is the world's third-highest capital city in elevation sitting at 8,355 feet above sea level. The climate in Bogota is mild, with an average daytime temperature of 57 degrees.

Colombia Andean Region

The Location


The Population


The Religion

Roman Catholic

The Weather

  • The staff and children of Compassion’s child development center in Villavicencio City pose in front of their church. The center serves as an oasis of hope for these children. Colombia Children and Staff Outside of Center
  • This neighborhood street in Villavicencio City is typical of the slums in the Andes region. The roads are unpaved. The houses are built from scrap materials. The poverty is inescapable. Colombia Children in Road Between Homes
  • Compassion centers in the Colombia Andes lack clean drinking water. Water is delivered every three days; in the meantime workers store water any way they can. Colombia Bucket of Water
  • The smile says it all. Compassion’s child development program helps children see beyond the grim reality of their everyday lives. Colombia Smiling Boy Studying
  • Thanks to sponsorship, this girl sees hope where little existed before. Every day she receives physical, emotional and spiritual nourishment from workers who care deeply about her. Colombia Smiling Girl Closeup
  • A young boy receives math tutoring in Compassion’s child development center. Without the center, these children would receive very little education. Colombia Boy Talking to Teacher

Overview: Andean Region of Colombia

The Andean region’s temperature averages 57 degrees. The dry season is December through March, which is the warmest month of the year. The rainy months are April and May, and September through November. Days during the rainy months are typically overcast, and while temperatures remain relatively consistent year-round, weather conditions can change drastically, even during the course of one day.

The great Andes mountain range in Colombia has peaks that top 18,000 feet. Part of the “Ring of Fire,” the Andean region is subject to occasional volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. The region’s highest peaks, Pico Cristobal Colon and Pico Simon Bolívar, tower at 18,946 feet. The range crosses the country from north to south, and its highlands are home to Colombia’s three largest cities: Cali, Medellín and the capital city, Bogotá. With 7 million people, Bogotá is the world’s third-highest capital city in elevation, at 8,355 feet.

Cali is known as Colombia’s sports capital, site of the country’s National Games on three separate occasions, while Medellín is called the “City of Eternal Spring” for its year-round spring climate and abundant flowers.

During the 1970s and ’80s, Cali and Medellín were embroiled in wars between powerful drug cartels and were dangerous, violent cities. The government has since dismantled some of the cartels. While much of the violence has been reined in, these cities still can be dangerous, with murders and kidnappings as commonplace occurrences.


Culture Corner


Make these easy Colombian “doughnuts.”


  • 1 lb. white cheese
  • 1½ c. cornstarch
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1½ c. vegetable oil


Grind the cheese very finely in a food processor. Mix the cheese with the cornstarch, eggs, brown sugar and salt. Roll the dough into balls the size of golf balls and drop into medium-hot vegetable oil. Fry slowly.

After a few minutes, increase temperature and fry until golden. Remove carefully and place on absorbent paper. Enjoy!

Life in the Andean Region

The Andes Mountain range is home to Colombia’s three largest cities: Cali, Medellin, and the capital city of Bogotá. The region’s climate is mild, with an average daytime temperature of 57 degrees.

Unemployment is a major problem in the region’s crowded cities. The dismantling of the drug cartels and a steady migration of job seekers from the country have added to the ranks of the unemployed.

Child abuse is also a problem. Parents who were neglected or abused when they were children continue the cycle with their own kids. Lax child protection laws and an underground tourist industry that caters to child predators add to the danger.

Children at Home

The homes of families living in the Andean cities are typically made of cement blocks. However, in the impoverished slums, people use whatever scrap material they can find to build makeshift shelters, which provide little protection from the elements. Often, they put newspaper in the walls for insulation. In the warmer cities, such as Cali, homes are commonly built on stilts.


Community Issues and Concerns Community in Colombia

With the dismantling of drug cartels in Colombia’s Andean cities, many former “employees” of these cartels have found themselves unemployed, adding to the region’s already high unemployment and underemployment rates.

Many people also migrate to the cities from the countryside, hoping to find work and a better way of life. Unable to find jobs, they end up in city slums, where the environment is particularly unsafe and unhealthy for children.

Another widespread concern is the abuse of children in the home. Extreme physical punishment is considered normal, and there is little understanding of biblical principles about disciplining children.

Also, because of the lack of child protection laws and an increasing number of tourists in Colombia’s cities, another concern is the rise in child prostitution.

Local Needs and Challenges

The lack of potable water creates tremendous hardships in the poverty-stricken areas of the Colombian Andes. Many people – and even some Compassion centers – in the region have to wait as long as three days for water to be delivered. They must find a way to keep the water sanitary between deliveries, which can be difficult in a slum setting. That lack of potable water combined with deplorable living conditions cause frequent outbreaks of sickness and disease.


Schools and Education Education in Colombia

In Colombia, first grade through secondary school typically takes 11 years. Sadly, the best schools are private ones that poor families cannot afford. Public schools are overcrowded, with around 40 students per classroom, as opposed to 15 students in private school classes.

In addition to overcrowding, public schools provide poor quality education. Also, in the city schools, children are at risk of falling prey to drug and alcohol addiction or involvement in gangs.

At the Compassion Child Development Center

Compassion serves children in Colombia’s Andean region through local, church-based child development centers. These centers are havens of love and learning for registered children. Here, the children receive nutritious meals, hygiene training, and tutoring to attain standard academic milestones. They are also encouraged to develop their talents and abilities. Most important, children learn about God’s love and the gift of salvation in Christ.


Working Through the Local Church

Local churches in the Andean region provide ideal entry points for Compassion’s ministry. In communities where poverty, neglect and suffering rule the day, churches offer the most valuable resource of all: God’s love. By partnering with these churches, Compassion is able to show the people of the community what God’s love looks like in action.

Compassion helps churches expand their ministry by becoming child development centers – places where the most vulnerable members of the community can go to escape the harsh realities of everyday life. At these centers, children receive physical, emotional and spiritual nourishment. They are introduced to a better way of living. They learn how to build a brighter future for themselves.

How Compassion Works in Colombia Compassion in Colombia

Compassion’s work in Colombia began in 1974. Today more than 59,500 children are being served by 219 child development centers throughout the country. Young lives are being changed daily in these centers, thanks to the generosity of Compassion’s donors. Yet for all of our impact, there is still much work to be done. Currently more than 7,000 registered children in Colombia are waiting to be sponsored.

The Role of a Partnership Facilitator

The Partnership Facilitator serves as a bridge between the local church, which has its finger on the pulse of the needs of the community, and Compassion, which has the expertise and resources to meet those needs.

The facilitator talks to church leaders and people in the community to discover the unique problems and challenges of its people, especially children and their families. The facilitator then works with the staff and lay people of local churches, familiarizing them with Compassion’s specially designed curriculum and helping them understand how to best reach the children in the program. This process often involves tweaking the program to fit the needs of the community. The facilitator then oversees the program, addressing issues as they arise.


Prayer Requests

  • Pray for the health of children living in unsanitary city slums in the Andean region.
  • Pray for the parents and caregivers of Compassion-assisted children who need steady jobs.
  • Pray for the protection of children from violence and abuse.
  • Pray that assisted children will advance academically.
  • Pray for Compassion center staff members, who diligently strive to meet the needs of the children in their care.