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Our impact

Overview

Although Colombia is developing rapidly and is currently the fourth largest economy in Latin America, there are still vast inequalities. Almost half of the population is living in poverty.

In 2016, the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) signed a peace agreement which formally ended more than fifty years of civil conflict.

It is estimated that nearly 2 million Venezuelan refugees have settled in Colombia after fleeing the crisis that has devastated their country. Most of the people arrive in the country in conditions of extreme need. Their reasons for migrating, the journey to reach Colombia and the process of starting a new life are often marked by physical and emotional harm.

In addition to the trauma of having to leave their country, many Venezuelan refugees face health and nutrition problems, as well as discrimination by the local population. About half of these newcomers lack legal status and cannot access formal employment, healthcare or other services.

Colombia is also vulnerable to natural disasters – more than 11 million people are affected each year by droughts, earthquakes and flooding, which are becoming more frequent and severe due to the climate crisis.

Our work in Colombia

Tearfund has been working in Colombia since 1980. Our most recent work focuses on responding to the Venezuelan migrant crisis.

Our campaign, As Born Among Us, has mobilised hundreds of churches and Christian organisations throughout Latin America to welcome and support migrants and refugees. We have supported and equipped churches to understand the Biblical mandate to care for migrants, to meet their humanitarian needs and to advocate on behalf of and with migrants.

A huge success for this campaign was that 24,000 stateless children have now been granted citizenship in Colombia. Previously, children born to Venezuelan refugee parents could not claim Colombian citizenship and were unable to access support for education or healthcare. Now, as a result of a Latin American wide coalition, including Tearfund, lobbying the Colombian government, the law has been changed to allow these children to claim Colombian citizenship and rights.

We are encouraging churches to help Venezuelan refugees integrate into their communities and to prevent discrimination. We are also training church leaders on child-protection and gender-based violence prevention.

Through community kitchens, food baskets and food vouchers we are helping thousands of Venezuelan families improve their nutrition and we are facilitating access to healthcare services, such as pre-natal check-ups, for Venezuelan women who are pregnant.

Tearfund is also training women as Trauma Healing Facilitators to assist the many thousands of Colombian and Venezuelan women who have experienced sexual and gender-based violence.  These facilitators are currently running Trauma Healing groups in their churches, which provide a safe environment for women to meet and process their experiences, as well as to discover the transforming love of God.

Please pray for Colombia

  • Ask for protection for all Venezulan refugees. Ask that God will provide for their basic needs and that they will be able to access food, health services and education.
  • Lift up all those who have experienced abuse. Pray that survivors of sexual violence will experience healing.
  • Pray that communities will be equipped to respond effectively to the impact of severe weather conditions.

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