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 continues to deal with severe drought that has plagued the region for nearly a decade. The Order of Malta distributes aid to 22 departments of Colombia, including La Guajira, and also Cucuta, where MannaPack meals are being provided for Venezuelan immigrants.

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. Through Food For The Poor, the Order of Malta is in the process of implementing a program to help the disabled in Atlantico, Bolivar, Guajira, Magdalena, Antioquia, Caldas, Cundinamarca and Boyaca, by providing them with specialized wheelchairs for a better quality of life.

In the first six months of 2018, Food For The Poor shipped four tractor-trailer loads of the following to Colombia:

  • Three tractor-trailer loads of MannaPack meals for the La Guajira communities.
  • More than 500 specialized wheelchair kits.
  • 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 $14,000. 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.