SOS Children's Villages in Colombia

For over 50 years Colombians lived in conflict. The violence affected millions of people who were displaced. In 2016 a peace agreement brought an end to this internal fighting and millions are still trying to rebuild their lives. In addition, other challenges remain: for example, malnutrition, child labour and high rates of violence against children and young people. As the country looks to new future, vulnerable families, young people and children are in need of support.

A country rebuilding after decades of conflict

Children in the care of SOS Children’s Villages and their SOS mother (photo: SOS archives).

The Republic of Colombia, in the north-west of South America is home to roughly 48 million people, the country has the third largest Spanish-speaking population worldwide after Mexico and Spain.

For over fifty years, Colombia was marked by a complex and violent internal conflict. Over seven million people were displaced and an estimated 250,000 were killed. At the end of 2016, the peace agreement between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) marked an end to the fighting. This was seen as a first step to bring stability to the country.

In spite of the conflict, Colombia has seen significant economic growth in recent years; however, the income and wealth distribution remains highly unequal. Nearly 28 per cent of the population lives in poverty. Living conditions in rural and urban areas of the country differ significantly: in rural areas, over 35 per cent of the people lack access to clean water and proper sanitation. There is limited access to medical and educational services. In bigger cities, the situation is, in general terms, notably better. However some neighbourhoods in big cities, especially those where migrants first settle, are lacking basic public services.

Supporting refugees from neighbouring Venezuela

Children at risk due to violence and poverty

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