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: 'Nothing equals education'
Forty-four-year-old Kareem Kateh has been a farmer in southern Iraq his entire life. He didn’t have many other options: the nearest school was too far away to complete his primary school education. Still he made a good living, and was able to buy a large plot of land for his family.
Japan: Keeping a space safe
I was really excited about today's possibilities for stories here in Japan; we were going to see Comfort for Kids activities in the city of Kesennuma. But, as soon as we arrived at our destination, everything changed.
Haiti: Finding peace and serenity in Haiti
After warming up outside with a name game, the children return to the classroom for their next activity. The mentor asks them to close their eyes and focus on their breathing. They have just had an outdoor activity and it’s time to slow down — it’s time for meditation.
Haiti: In Haiti, children giggle with delight
I met Guivens Cemervil for the first time when he traveled to Mercy Corps headquarters in Portland, Oregon last January on the anniversary of Haiti’s earthquake. His story is remarkable: he was the only survivor in his university’s classroom of 60 to be unharmed.
Guatemala: The different sparks of a cooking recipe
Part of the health and nutrition strengthening strategies used by Mercy Corps' PROCOMIDA program with Guatemalan communities consists of recipe demonstrations to beneficiary mothers.
Iraq: Arazu's dream
One of the participants in the Mercy Corps Iraq-sponsored Creating Murals For Kalar Kindergarten project — in which art students paint murals on local school walls — is 22-year-old Arazu Hassan Salih.
Guatemala: PROCOMIDA meeting in an Alta Verapaz village
Women and their children attend a workshop put on by Mercy Corps' PROCOMIDA program, which helps improve the nutritional status and health of women and children in some of Guatemala's poorest areas.
Guatemala: Traveling the roads of resilient children
I recently went to visit the communities of Yalchactic I and Salvador Chizol, near the city of Cobán in Guatemala's mountainous Alta Verapaz region. A large portion of the access roads to these communities are in very bad shape.
Japan: Back to school again!
This week brought an important step in the attempt to return to some sort of normalcy in the tsunami-affected area of Japan. School started again.
Iraq: "Disability does not stand between a man and his aspirations"
"Disability does not stand as obstacle between a man and his aspirations. The real disability is the disability of will and determination," 21-year-old Hassan told me.