Facts About Our Work in Colombia

Food For The Poor began serving in Colombia in 2014. The international relief and development organization is working primarily with the Order of Malta, which is one of the oldest lay religious orders of the Catholic Church. The Order of Malta is a neutral, impartial and apolitical organization that facilitates the distribution of needed medical supplies within the South American country.

Food For The Poor’s work is being concentrated in the remote and marginalized department of La Guajira in northern Colombia. La Guajira borders Venezuela and encompasses most of the Guajira Peninsula on the Caribbean Sea. It’s distinguished by desert landscapes, giant sand dunes, and remote ranches and fishing villages of the indigenous Wayuu people, who are a Native American ethnic group. The Wayuu language is part of the Maipuran (Arawak) language family.

Food For The Poor has been working with the Order of Malta to get food to the children in arid La Guajira. La Guajira is one of the most vulnerable departments in Colombia that has been dealing with a severe drought for several years. The Order of Malta distributes aid to 22 departments of Colombia, including La Guajira.

Hundreds of children within this community have reportedly died due to malnourishment and a lack of clean drinking water. Given the high rate of acute malnutrition, Food For The Poor, along with the Order of Malta, is working to strengthen the local leadership in the Guajira Peninsula to educate the various communities about preventive health and hygiene measures.

In 2017, Food For The Poor has shipped the following essential goods to Colombia:

  • Three tractor-trailer loads of MannaPacks (a nutritional food supplement) for the La Guajira communities.
  • Pharmaceuticals for various Order of Malta medical programs in the city of Bogotá. Food For The Poor has sent four shipments since the charity began serving in Colombia.

Colombia is the only country in South America that has a coastline on both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Bogotá is the capital of Colombia. It is the second largest capital city in South America and at 8,661 feet, it is one of the highest capital cities in the world. Colombia is a Spanish-speaking country with a population of nearly 50 million people. The dominant religion is Roman Catholic, the currency is the Colombian peso, and the GDP per capita is $6,100. The life expectancy is 71 years and the country literacy rate is 93 percent. Farmers raise world-renowned coffee on the Andean slopes. Colombia sells much of the world’s emeralds and considerable amounts of gold, silver and platinum, and has the continent’s highest coal production — most from the Guajira Peninsula.