As young people mature, the decisions they make have an enormous impact on their families, their communities and our world. But growing up surrounded by poverty, war or in the aftermath of disaster increases their risks and limits their choices.
That's why giving children and youth the right support at this most critical time is essential to building tomorrow’s strong, productive communities.
When disaster strikes, young children are especially vulnerable to developing emotional and social problems that can jeopardize their futures. Mercy Corps worked with experts to design our signature Comfort for Kids program that helps children process their trauma and recover through play, sports and art activities. See our expert's recommendations for how parents and caregivers can help children through times of crisis ▸
For adolescents faced with violence, early marriage and interruptions to schooling, we provide opportunities for community involvement, vocational training and life skills development. Our goal is to empower youth in the toughest places to make smart life choices and invest their energy in developing solutions to their countries’ biggest challenges.
All stories about Children & Youth
Lebanon, Syria: Syrians take refuge in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley
In the two days visiting recently arrived Syrians, most of the refugees I encountered were children, who've been uprooted from the only life they've every known. Here's what I saw and heard from them.
Iraq: A life after divorce
Rasha’s story is unfortunately typical of girls in Iraq: She was married off against her will at age 13.
Jordan, Lebanon, Syria: Aiding Syrian refugees
As fighting intensifies and thousands of Syrians flee their country for the relative safety of neighbors like Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey, Mercy Corps is meeting important humanitarian needs of Syrian refugees.
Myanmar: Innovative conservation efforts honored
Mercy Corps' innovative efforts to save valuable mangroves in Myanmar has won a big accolade.
Kenya: Choosing opportunity over violence
Earlier this summer I spent three weeks in Kenya with Mercy Corps colleagues who are implementing an ambitious program called “Yes Youth Can!” (YYC).
Kenya: Young people shape their economic future
Young people in Kenya face enormous hurdles. Today, the youth unemployment rate is an alarming 65% and growing. Suffering with few job prospects and a slow economy, many young people have been lured into violence fueled by political and tribal conflict.
Afghanistan: Students welcome visit from British government official
The normal school day at our vocational training center in rural Lashkar Gah, Afghanistan was recently shaken up — but students were eager to discuss the changes education has brought to their lives.
South Sudan: Building on hope one year after independence
South Sudan Country Director Mathieu Rouquette met these two little girls in the market in Bentiu, Unity State, when they peeked their heads into a camera shop that recently received a Mercy Corps business grant.
Yemen: Hadeel's journey from student to staff
Hadeel’s story is one of new beginnings. Born and raised in Aden, a major city on Yemen’s southeast coast, Hadeel was previously a professional volleyball player. He was even chosen for Yemen’s national team. But a few years ago, a tragic accident forced him to reconsider his career.
Colombia: The war on child soldier recruitment begins at school
Last month was especially busy as I organized field visits to our child soldier prevention and reintegration program.