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: Children find brighter futures off the streets
Espacios para Crecer, or Spaces to Grow, uses education to fight child labor in Bogotá's most impoverished neighborhoods.
Afghanistan: Building better lives in the midst of conflict
As the uncertain tensions and violence in Afghanistan continue, our predominantly Afghan team is working tirelessly to ensure that community needs are met.
Niger: Families seek food assistance
Due to worsening food shortages, the nutritional screening centers that Mercy Corps established several years ago have experienced a massive increase in patients.
Niger: Mother and child in Niger
One of many mothers worried about the lack of food for their children after severe drought and a meager 2011 harvest have brought the lean season to Filingue and the rest of Niger months early.
Niger: Malnutrition screenings in Filingue
Mothers — and often grandmothers caring for babies left orphaned — come to the nutritional screening center in Filingue, where Mercy Corps volunteers assess each child for malnourishment using arm measurements and a formula that takes into account age and weight.
Kenya: "Yes Youth Can" gears up to train young entrepreneurs
Charles Kosgei is a highly skilled carpenter from the village of Soba in the Rift Valley, Kenya. Having just learned about Mercy Corps' "Yes Youth Can!" program, he says he's excited by the opportunity to have two or three youth trainees join him in a project.
Afghanistan: Young man learns sewing trade
Our INVEST program helps men — and now women, too — learn job skills that put them on a path toward economic independence.
Iraq: A safer walk to school in Basra
Flying into Basra in southern Iraq for the first time, all I could see was desert and the occasional smoke plumes from the oil fields.
Sudan: Children in Blue Nile state
Children in Kurmuk, Sudan, clown for the camera. The city in the Blue Nile state, along the country's southern border, has been besieged by conflict since South Sudan's independence last July, as the countries struggle to negotiate resources and borders.
Japan: Small business helps the youngest survivors
Today my heart sang. After days of seeing destruction and rubble, I got to visit the tiniest tsunami survivors at a day care in Kesennuma, Japan. After it was destroyed in the tsunami, the day care was recently restarted with Mercy Corps' help .