All of the countries where we work are striving to slow the spread of the coronavirus through restrictions on public gatherings or quarantines. Below, you can find the most up-to-date reports from those countries, and how the new guidelines are affecting Compassion programming. Please continue to check back to this page for further updates.
A message from your Sponsored Child’s Country
Watch updates from South America Region National Directors below.
Updates: South America
[Update as of November 16, 2020]
Bolivia has reported over 142,000 COVID-19 infections and 8,751 related fatalities as of November 4. Face masks must be worn in public places, social distancing measures are imposed, and large public events are suspended. A curfew is in place from 12 a.m. to 5 a.m. in some areas. School is cancelled, both online and in person, until at least 2021. All land, river and lake borders remain closed, although air borders are open.
Group activities at all Compassion child development centres remain on hold. Partner churches are working to provide food, disease prevention materials and hygiene supplies to beneficiaries and their families. Since the crisis began, staff members have distributed 513,406 food packs and 242,458 hygiene kits and provided 7,830 individuals with medical support. They are also checking in with families via phone to provide spiritual and emotional support and arrange for telehealth calls. Compassion Bolivia has deployed teams of physicians and psychologists to support frontline church partners and has conducted trainings to help churches safely resume activities.
Brazil surpassed 5.58 million COVID-19 cases on November 4. The death toll has reached 160,548, the second highest in the world. Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro have been hit hardest, with Indigenous people disproportionally affected. Several state and local governments across Brazil have issued decrees that require the use of face masks. No curfew is in place. Millions are unemployed, and there is concern over a mounting financial crisis and inflation.
While Compassion activities are on hold, local partners are making every effort to provide for the basic needs of beneficiaries, including the delivery of 269,924 food baskets and 209,137 hygiene kits. Additionally, they have provided medical support to 14,150 people. Partner churches are maintaining phone contact with families and providing Bible stories, video lessons and prayers, as well as care for those struggling mentally and emotionally. Some churches have been able to hold small youth group gatherings and worship services with fewer than 30 people attending.
Colombia has reported over one million COVID-19 infections—the eighth country worldwide to hit the million mark. More than 31,000 related deaths are also reported. The government has extended the selective quarantine phase to December 1, and the national sanitation emergency remains in place until November 30. It is estimated that one in 10 Colombians lost their job during the pandemic.
All Compassion centre activities are on hold. Partner churches continue to monitor home situations for child protection and monitor families that are quarantined or have tested positive for COVID-19. Since April they have distributed 410,521 food packs and 210,491 hygiene kits to families and have facilitated medical support for 7,475 individuals. In areas where they cannot deliver food, they have provided families with vouchers to be used in local markets. Staff members have created activity kits for children to do at home, and some centres have held virtual birthday celebrations. Additionally, staff and church partners have created online curriculum lessons and devotionals and are continuing to follow up on any cases of abuse or violence.
Ecuador has confirmed 171,000 positive cases of COVID-19 and more than 12,700 related deaths, with the epicentre of the virus in Quito. Testing remains extremely limited, however, and death tolls indicate that the number of positive cases is higher than reported. Ecuador’s commerce, industry, tourism, transport and health sectors have been badly affected by the economic slowdown, and experts believe a surge in lost jobs will push many families into extreme poverty. Indigenous groups have been hit hard by the virus; many who live in remote areas have little access to testing or hospitals.
All Compassion frontline church partners and Compassion centres are closed to group activities. Church staff members continue to provide emotional and spiritual support by making regular phone calls to families. The Compassion Ecuador national office has helped to provide more than 2,500 pastors and more than 2,200 partner church staff with counseling and emotional care. Centre workers have been able to deliver 372,586 food packs and 96,123 hygiene kits and have provided medical support to 14,746 individuals since the pandemic began, including helping families access telehealth services. Some partner churches have been able to hold online worship services, prayer meetings and training in child protection.
Peru has reported more than 903,000 COVID-19 infections and over 34,400 related deaths as of November 4—the world’s highest per capita death toll. Strict curfews remain in effect nationwide. Adults over 65 and high-risk individuals cannot leave their homes except for going to the grocery store, bank or pharmacy, or in a medical emergency. Children under the age of 12 are allowed out of their homes for just 60 minutes a day with adult supervision. The wearing of face masks in public places is mandatory, and social distancing of at least one metre must be maintained. All social gatherings, including those held in homes and with family, are prohibited. Religious services may resume, however, at one-third capacity.
All Compassion frontline church partners have suspended children’s and youths’ activities. The national staff and church partners are monitoring children and families who are vulnerable due to extreme poverty, possible abuse or health complications. Centres remain focused on caring for children in four main areas: physically, through telehealth and disease prevention training; emotionally, through remote counselling; socially, through regular check-ins and visits when permitted; and spiritually, through counselling, devotionals and prayer. Partner churches are working closely with local authorities to deliver supplies to families and have been able to distribute 440,407 food packs and 242,702 hygiene kits. Additionally, they have helped 19,789 individuals access medical support during the pandemic.
Video Updates from the National Directors of our work in South America
- Impact on Sponsorship FAQs
- Travel Suspension FAQs
- Impact on Compassion Centres
- Ways to Pray
- Compassion Canada’s COVID-19 Disaster Relief Fund