Facts About Our Work in Colombia
Food For The Poor (FFTP) began serving in Colombia in 2014, partnering 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.
In 2019, FFTP formed a partnership with Minuto de Dios, a Colombian nonprofit that for more than 60 years has provided counseling, job training and homes to families living in poverty. Together, FFTP and Minuto de Dios have been helping the tens of thousands of Venezuelan migrants who have fled their home country to escape shortages of food, water and medicine, and ultimately achieve a better life in Colombia.
In March 2020, FFTP responded quickly to the crisis when COVID-19, a respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, became a pandemic. The charity shipped five tractor-trailer loads of items specifically for COVID-19 relief.
By the end of December 2020, there were more than 1.6 million coronavirus cases in Colombia, according to worldometers.info. The national quarantine implemented by the government devastated the economy for thousands, especially Venezuelan migrants, resulting in evictions, loss of income and loss of jobs. Many ultimately made the decision to return to Venezuela because they had nowhere else to go. Now that economies have slowly reopened in South America, Venezuelan migrants find themselves once again leaving Venezuela and making the trek back to Colombia.
- In 2020, the charity provided emergency food packs and hygiene kits to 19,356 families in dire need of aid, both Colombians and Venezuelan migrants. FFTP, through a partnership with Matthew 25: Ministries, created 155 jobs for vulnerable Colombians who made 333,580 face masks. The masks were distributed to the most vulnerable and to areas hardest hit by the coronavirus.
- Minuto de Dios is providing classrooms and equipment for mask production, while others, who had previously received training and had the proper equipment, worked from home. Twelve cities benefited from this economic and health response.
Food security is a critical need in Colombia. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, between 83 million and 132 million additional people will face severe hunger due to the impact from the coronavirus. Colombia has a 54.2 percentage rate of food insecurity, according to Colombia’s Food and Nutrition Security team.
In 2020, FFTP shipped 22 tractor-trailer loads of nonperishable food and medical equipment to Colombia.
FFTP is continuing to provide support to several Venezuelan migrant care centers throughout Colombia. These programs offer psychological and emotional support along with economic assistance through seed capital to support viable micro-enterprise projects, in addition, they offer job skills training workshops to help Venezuelans access the Colombian job market.
- In 2020, FFTP reached its entrepreneur goal, where all 290 participants graduated from the program and 39 participants found work, an impressive feat since Colombia experienced an economic shutdown for six months due to the coronavirus crisis.
- In Bogota, 128 participants graduated from the entrepreneur program – 23 completed the employability program and found jobs.
- In Cali, 77 participants graduated from the entrepreneur program – seven completed the employability program and found jobs.
- In Barranquilla, 85 participants graduated from the entrepreneur program – nine completed the employability program and found jobs.
- FFTP has committed to providing support to centers in Villavicencio, Medellin, Pasto, Bucaramanga, and new groups in Bogota.
The Palma Real Sustainable Community Development Project is being implemented in Granada, Meta, which is located nearly two hours south of Villavicencio, the state’s capital. The sustainable community will have 60 three-bedroom houses with clean water, sanitation and electricity.
- FFTP will build an Integral Development Center, which will deliver services to the community and assist with social development, income-generating activities and training, as well as other social programs.
FFTP, with the help of the Order of Malta, has been providing food to children and adults throughout Colombia in response to the global health pandemic, both Colombians and Venezuelan migrants. By the end of 2020, FFTP provided emergency food and hygiene assistance to more than 11,000 families.
The Order of Malta distributes aid that includes MannaPack meals to 22 departments of Colombia, including La Guajira and regions in Bogota and El Choco. MannaPack meals also are being provided to Venezuelan migrants and residents of Cucuta where the meals are stored in a food bank and distributed to 11 feeding centers, serving nearly 8,000 people daily.
Through FFTP, the Order of Malta is in the process of implementing the City of God Entre Nubes Sustainable Development Project in San Cristobal, Bogota, which will be inaugurated later this year. The sustainable community will have 72 two-bedroom homes with clean water, sanitation and electricity. FFTP will build an Integral Development Center, which will deliver services to the community and assist with social development, income-generating activities and training, as well as other social programs.
Colombia is located within the northwest corner of South America and is the continent’s most populous Spanish-speaking nation. Roughly twice the geographic size of France, Colombia is bordered by the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea, as well as Panama, Venezuela, Brazil, Peru and Ecuador.
The population is approximately 50 million. The language is Spanish, and its largest religion is Catholicism. The currency is the peso and it is South America’s third-largest economy with a GDP per capita of$14,700.