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
South Sudan: Fighting for an education
Ten-year-old Zenaib is excited to begin attending class in one of the temporary learning spaces that Mercy Corps is currently constructing.
Kenya: Using sports to ignite global youth potential
After being shot in the chest with an arrow, David was forced to wait nearly two weeks for treatment. Lack of medical resources wasn't the problem — even though an ambulance took David almost immediately to the hospital, members of an opposing tribe refused to operate on him.
Yemen: Protecting children in the crossfire
Seven-year-old Hadiel looked forward to starting first grade last year at Nusaybah school, in the heart of Yemen’s capital of Sana’a. But the presence of heavily armed soldiers and certainty of violence kept her home.
South Sudan: Creating safe spaces for learning
After decades of war, residents of Unity state dreamed of brighter futures last July when they became citizens of the new nation of South Sudan.
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.