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
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.
West Bank and Gaza: Digital opportunities transcend borders
In Gaza, information technology is one of the only ways to connect to a productive future. See what Alaa and her visionary peers achieved at Gaza's first-ever Startup Weekend.
West Bank and Gaza: Online Arabic freelancer network launches in Gaza
After winning third place in the first-ever Startup Weekend in Gaza this past December, AnaLancer has launched an “expert-sourcing platform” that connects freelancers from the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) with business owners worldwide.
Niger: Schools empty as food shortage worsens
Twelve-year-old Lauretta was forced to drop out of school to help keep house and watch her younger brother while her mother forages for food to feed the family.
Iraq: Empowered youth build stronger society
Salahadin in one of the hardest hit provinces in Iraq. Just north of Baghdad, services here are hard to come by and the security situation is often critical. But it is also the center of a groundswell of civic activism and organization.
Yemen: Humanitarian needs demand urgent attention
Kosovo: Streetlights pave the way for brighter future
Life was scary on the dark streets of Kodra in northern Kosovo. As the sun set in this multi-ethnic neighborhood of Mitrovica, children would scatter, afraid of what might hide behind the corner.
Indonesia: From the source: Mothers provide perfect nourishment
Infant mortality remains high in Indonesia, the result of acute malnutrition and illness. Breastmilk imparts key nutrients to protect babies' health, yet many mothers are misinformed and choose to feed their infants formula or other foods.
Haiti: Youthful views: National Geographic photo camp
For six days last month, 18 Haitian youth came together for a Mercy Corps and National Geographic photo camp in Port-au-Prince.
Colombia: Armed for a new life
Six weeks ago, 16-year-old Juliana was fighting for the guerrillas in the Colombian countryside. Today she's one of 29 teenage ex-combatants living in a residential neighborhood of Cali, the country's third-largest city, learning how to get her life back on track.