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
Colombia: Reclaiming children of war
As many as 14,000 children are fighting in Colombia's armed conflict. Each year, hundreds are rescued or escape — but it's too risky to return home. Mercy Corps is helping them start over.
Colombia: Helping fellow soldiers back from battle: Adriana's fresh start
Helping former child soldiers rejoin society is familiar territory for Adriana. She was raised by her uncle in a small village where armed insurgents operated openly.
Indonesia: Mothers connect in the field
Portland, Seattle, Taipei, Jakarta, Brebes, Kutamendala. After 44 hours of travel my colleague and I wander into our final destination — a secluded village in the jungles of Java.
Colombia: Capture or surrender earns second chance
Child soldiers in Colombia escape the front lines one of two ways: by turning themselves in, or being rescued in battle. Most come from the countryside, where schools and jobs are scarce, and join an armed group as a way to escape poverty.
Colombia: Picturing yesterday, today and tomorrow
Former child soldiers in Colombia created these drawings as part of our program that helps them reintegrate into society after fighting in illegal armed groups.
Kenya: Planting tea and cultivating positive change
I’m crouched inside a tea nursery high up in the Central Rift Valley of Kenya, and George Ngethe is patiently explaining to me how tea is produced.
Yemen: A fresh coat of paint can make all the difference
Yemen’s youth are demanding change across the country on a large scale, but I’ve also seen them bring it in their communities one improvement at a time.
Libya: Benghazi activists honor the price of war
One of the great things about my job is that I get to meet people who contribute to social change from a million different angles. But of all the people I’ve met through my work at Mercy Corps, few have been as inspiring as a group of activists I met in Benghazi during a trip to Libya last week.
Kenya: Kids in Kenya
Pictured are school children from the community of Kenyanjeri, which participates in our Yes Youth Can! program.
Iraq: One hundred text messages she can read and write
The noise was deafening. I had asked a simple question — “How has the WAI program changed your life?” — and everyone had an answer. I didn’t know what to focus on. Spoons clinked in tea glasses and the women never stopped talking.