Colombia

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Kirkollinen työ Church cooperation Kehitysyhteistyö Development cooperation Kummityö Child sponsor program

 

Colombia is the sight of one of the world’s longest running and most serious humanitarian crises.  It is estimated that there are around 3.5 – 5 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the country, which is more than in any other country in the world.  The cause of the humanitarian crisis is the Colombian armed conflict, which involves the Colombian government, rebel forces and various armed groups.  The majority of the IDPs live in extreme poverty.  The number of displaced people from Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities has increased to such an extent that some of the latter are in danger of extinction.  Levels of income disparity in Colombia are among the highest in the world.

FELM’s partners in Colombia are the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Colombia and the Lutheran World Federation.

 

Service

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Colombia runs fours schools and, through its churches and child sponsorship programmes, it reaches many other children.  The Church also carries out HIV and AIDS work among young people.

Life in rural areas of Colombia is dangerous and the food security situation is poor.  Poverty and the IDP problem also leave their mark on the environment.  FELM supports The Church's environmental project through which new trees are being planted and water sources protected.  The project is helping to protect lives in rural areas.

FELM also supports LWF’s peace and human rights programme in Colombia.  A key component of the programme is the development of local NGO networks.  Target groups of the programme include indigenous groups, Afro-Colombians, agricultural workers and women, whose lives the programme seeks to improve.

 

Proclamation work

FELM supports the Church and its poorer member churches in their efforts to become self-sufficient, to improve their management capacity and to strengthen their mission work.  FELM has also supported the building of the Bucaramanga church.  FELM directly supports the Church’s theological school which provides training for pastors.

        

Sponsorship work 


FELM’s child sponsorship funds are used to support the education of over 250 children and young Colombians. The children supported through the programme are those who have fallen outside the official education system due to their IDP status or their parents’ inability to pay for their education.

Children are able to participate in afternoon and weekend activities, including various courses, at a church-run centre in the south of Bogotá. The centre offers music, handicrafts, baking and information technology activities. The centre also arranges lectures on raising children, for parents, and provides psychological help for victims of violence. The centre aims to keep children off the area’s streets, where gangs and drug dealers are rife.  The centre also houses a kindergarten and internet café. The church has given its members the chance to carry out practical diaconal work. Church members have carried out home visits, and used the money from a small fund to buy medicine for the poor.  They have also helped the unemployed and single mothers in various ways.