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
Indonesia: Food carts on a whole new scale
In Jakarta, our teams found that 17% percent of children under 5 are malnourished, while 12% are overweight.
Indonesia: Nutrition on wheels
Resources for children after tragedy
All of us in the Mercy Corps family are struggling to comprehend today's unimaginable tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. To families looking for guidance as they struggle with today's events, we offer these recommendations from our Comfort for Kids expert.
South Sudan: A classroom for Asholl
Asholl loves school so much that she wants to be a teacher when she grows up. The second grader would stay in class all day if she could: "I like learning to read and write. I am bored when I have to stay home and it is raining. There is nothing to do."
West Bank and Gaza: Voices from Gaza
In mid-November 2012, hostilities between Israel and Gaza brought incredible violence to both countries. Read how the conflict affected members of our youth leadership program in Gaza, one of the places around the world where we're working to build a global network of young leaders.
Lebanon, Syria: ‘Here, I feel safe’
Laughter could be heard across the yard of the Beitokom Community Center in Baalbeck, as Alaa raced to greet us. The 13-year-old and his family recently arrived from Damascus, having fled near-nightly bombardment, terror and immeasurable personal loss.
Advice for parents after Superstorm Sandy
Mercy Corps pays special attention to helping kids in the wake of disasters. After decades of responding to emergencies, we’ve seen firsthand the serious impact on young survivors and know the importance of protecting children’s emotional wellbeing along with their physical safety.
Yemen: The promise of youth
I live in Aden, Yemen. I have high hopes for my community and believe we can help it become peaceful and prosperous. But the crises that have engulfed Yemen in the last year have had a negative effect on my people.
Ethiopia: Feeding hungry babies
In Ida Adays village, our mobile health team weighed seven-month-old Nasteho Mohamed and found her to be malnourished. She weighed only 4kg, but at her age should be somewhere around 4.8kg.
Lebanon, Syria: Kids moving beyond crisis
We began our first Moving Forward activities in two areas of Lebanon a few weeks ago. The sessions give kids — both Syrian refugees and those from Lebanese host families — a safe, structured place to learn and play away from the current chaos.