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
Jordan, Syria: Omran's story: Soccer is a comfort from home
Sports have helped Omran let go of anger and adjust to life at Zaatari refugee camp, where Mercy Corps built fields and will start a league for the kids.
Jordan, Lebanon, Syria: In the news: One million Syrian refugee children
The UN announced today that one million Syrian children have now been registered as refugees. And of those, some 740,000 are under the age of 11.
Jordan, Syria: Ibrahim’s story: A chance to play is a chance to heal
Eight-year-old Ibrahim saw war rage outside his window in Syria. Now at Zaatari refugee camp, our play spaces and activities are helping him feel safe again.
Jordan, Lebanon, Syria: Q+A: How we're protecting Syrian refugee kids
Our child protection expert in Jordan and Lebanon explains what their life is like and what Mercy Corps is doing to keep them safe.
Jordan, Syria: Sandcastles bring happiness to Syrian kids
In these photos, you can see how the simple opportunity to play and use their imaginations brings comfort to the youngest refugees.
International Youth Day: Five ways we're helping young people change the world
Read about the young people we’ve met and what they’re doing to transition themselves toward adulthood — and their countries toward peace and development.
West Bank and Gaza: Wheelchairs are no barrier to sport
A 15-year-old double amputee takes a shot during a wheelchair basketball tournament Mercy Corps organized in the West Bank, an area of the world where those with disabilities are highly marginalized.
West Bank and Gaza: Gaza Sky Geeks takes tech support to the next level
In the isolated Gaza Strip, economic instability is a constant. But in the months after November's conflict, our work with tech-savvy Palestinian youth has taken a new spin.
Somalia: Bringing youth together on and off the pitch
Last month, I stood on the sidelines of a field that felt all too familiar, yet worlds apart. I was in Garowe, Somalia — more than 8,000 miles from home in Portland, Oregon — celebrating Somali Youth Day with a 10-day youth soccer tournament.
Colombia: NPR discusses second chances for child soldiers
Peace talks are in progress, but the FARC continues to recruit young people to their front lines. Our Country Director in Colombia talks about the plight of child soliders and our efforts to help those who escape build new lives.