COVID-19 and Compassion’s Work in Colombia

An in-depth look at the coronavirus pandemic in Colombia

Last Updated: 10/19/2020

Colombia recently lifted its national health emergency, allowing all sectors of the economy to return to work. However, the Colombian health minister said on Oct. 7 that the quarantine may be reinstated if new cases of COVID-19 continue to rise. The country has reported 930,000 COVID-19 infections and more than 28,000 deaths. It is estimated that one in 10 Colombians lost their job during the pandemic.

All Compassion center activities are on hold. Partner churches continue to monitor home situations for child protection and monitor families that are quarantined or have tested positive for COVID-19. Since April they have distributed 345,969 food packs and 183,376 hygiene kits to families and have facilitated medical support for 6,257 individuals. In areas where they cannot deliver food, they have provided families with vouchers to be used in local markets. Staff members have created activity kits for children to do at home, and some centers have held virtual birthday celebrations. Additionally, staff and church partners have created online curriculum lessons and devotionals and are continuing to follow up on any cases of abuse or violence.

COVID response in Colombia

How is Compassion Currently Operating in Colombia?

Below, you will find the latest information on how Compassion is currently operating in Colombia, including status updates on center openings, letter delivery and gift delivery. This is the most current information we have, though it can change quickly. Please know that all children and their families are being checked in on regularly by staff, either in person or by phone, even if the Compassion center is not open for programming. Watch this video for a detailed explanation of how COVID-19 is affecting Compassion centers and how local partners are caring for each registered child during this season.

Are Compassion Centers Open?

Currently, all centers in Colombia are closed in order to abide by local guidelines. Staff members are working to create virtual programming activity, including videos and livestreams. They continue to call and check in on families, and in some communities they are able to visit children while obeying social distancing guidelines. Because of the generous support of sponsors and donors, they have been able to distribute 345,969 food packs and 183,376 hygiene kits to children and their families!

COVID response in Colombia

child reading IconStory From the Field

"There is a food basket waiting for you here at the center!" Blanca felt a rush of relief as she heard the news. She thought her children would have to go without food and face another night of hunger.

Blanca, a single mother of five, used to work on a passion fruit plantation in Colombia until she lost her job because of COVID-19. Her only hope for food was a banana plantation, a 30-minute bike ride from her home. Early each morning, she would ride there to ask for some bananas. She and her children were living mainly on bananas — banana soup, fried slices or banana puree.

Blanca’s family was one of 400 that her son’s Compassion center was able to help in this season of desperation. Staff members distributed food baskets, which included rice, tuna, pasta, lentils, chickpeas, beans, oats, flour, oil, sugar, milk, salt, chocolate, cookies and eggs. They have also delivered essentials, such as soap, toothpaste, toilet paper, face masks, sanitizer and liquid soap.

"It had a great impact on the parents when we announced the delivery of the food baskets," says Yudi, the center director. "Many mothers were crying because we brought help at a time when they had nothing to eat."

"I like red beans, rice and pasta,” says Dubian, Blanca’s 7-year-old son. “I feel happy because I can share the food with my family and feel full after eating. We can't say thank you enough. God bless you!"

How can I pray for Colombia?

Pray that God will protect and keep the children and families who live in the northern and Andean regions of Colombia safe from flooding caused by heavy rains. For more prayer resources, visit Compassion’s COVID-19 prayer page for prayer guides and a virtual prayer wall.

How Can I Help?

Sponsor a Child in Colombia
Give to Compassion’s COVID-19 Relief Fund
A girl stands holding oil

Learn More >