Colombian OrphansOfficially the Republic of Colombia (República de Colombia). The third largest country in South America, Colombia has a population of over 46 million people. The territory of what is now Colombia was originally inhabited by indigenous peoples including the Muisca, Quimbaya, and Tairona. The Spanish arrived in 1499 and initiated a period of conquest and colonization ultimately creating the Viceroyalty of New Granada (comprising modern-day Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, north-western Brazil and Panama), with its capital at Bogotá. Independence from Spain was won in 1819, but by 1830 "Gran Colombia" had collapsed with the secession of Venezuela and Ecuador. The Republic of Colombia was declared in 1886. Panama seceded in 1903.
In 2010 Colombia had 577,000 orphans.
Drug trade and civil war have caused violence and consequently a rise in orphans in this country. There are countless children in Colombia who have lost parents due to civil conflict and HIV/AIDS, while others are abandoned due to extreme poverty, parental drug abuse or arrest. Others are abandoned after serving time as child combatants. Most of these children have little hope for adoption because they are “older” (more than 6 years old). Exacerbating the problem is the stigma that Colombian society assigns to these children.
Girls, especially orphans, are abducted into child soldiery and sexual slavery and are sometimes forced into armed service by their parents as a form of ‘tax payment’. In Colombia, for example, girls as young as 12 are reported to have submitted sexually to armed groups in order to ensure their families’ safety. Interpol estimates there are 35,000 women and girls trafficked out of Colombia every year for the sex trade, with estimated profits of $500 million, making Colombia second only to the Dominican Republic in the West. It is beyond comprehension the horror that these women and girls face as they service on average 40 clients per day.
Colombian orphans are emancipated from the child welfare system at age 18. Most leave the orphanage without a high school education, unable to support themselves and with no caring adult to guide them.
(sources: http://www.orphanhopeintl.org/facts-statistics/ & http://www.kidsave.org/colombian.shtml)
Colombia was the first constitutional government in South America, and the Liberal and Conservative parties, founded in 1848 and 1849, are two of the oldest surviving political parties in the Americas. However, tensions between the two have frequently erupted into violence, most notably in the Thousand Days War (1899–1902) and La Violencia, beginning in 1948. Since the 1960s, government forces, left-wing insurgents and right-wing paramilitaries have been engaged in the continent's longest-running armed conflict.Fueled by the cocaine trade, this escalated dramatically in the 1980s. Since 2000 the violence has decreased significantly, with many paramilitary groups demobilizing as part of a controversial peace process and the guerrillas losing control of much of the territory they once dominated. Meanwhile Colombia's homicide rate almost halved between 2002 and 2006.As of 2011 Colombia remains the world's largest producer of cocaine, although production has been falling. According to the Institute for Economics and Peace Colombia is the most violent nation in Latin America as of 2011.
Colombia is very ethnically diverse, and the interaction between descendants of the original native inhabitants, Spanish colonists, Africans brought as slaves and twentieth-century immigrants from Europe and the Middle East has produced a rich cultural heritage. This has also been influenced by Colombia's varied geography. The majority of the urban centres are located in the highlands of the Andes mountains, but Colombian territory also encompasses Amazon rainforest, tropical grassland and both Caribbean and Pacific coastlines. Colombia is located within the ring of fire.
The striking variety in temperature and precipitation results principally from differences in elevation. Temperatures range from very hot at sea level to relatively cold at higher elevations but vary little with the season. At Bogotá, for example, the average annual temperature is 15 °C (59 °F), and the difference between the average of the coldest and the warmest months is less than 1°C (1.8°F). More significant, however, is the daily variation in temperature, from 5 °C (41 °F) at night to 17 °C (62.6 °F) during the day.
Based on various studies, more than 95% of the population adheres to Christianity, the vast majority of which (between 81% and 90%) are Roman Catholic. About 1% of Colombians adhere to indigenous religions and under 1% to Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. However, around 60% of respondents to a poll by El Tiempo reported that they did not practice their Catholic faith actively.