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
Ethiopia, Kenya: Responding to historic drought
West Bank and Gaza: Getting Google to Gaza
Through an innovative Mercy Corps’ partnership with Google and the Source of Hope Foundation, young Palestinian web developers receive firsthand training and mentoring from engineers and business people from cutting-edge technology companies – as well as potential seed capital funding.
Libya: Comforting kids in Misrata
When unrest began in Libya earlier this year, Misrata was at the very center of the conflict. Today, as I look around this city, signs of prolonged fighting are visible everywhere: destroyed buildings, abandoned shops, streets littered with garbage.
Ethiopia: A mother's appeal
We’re outside the Mercy Corps office in Gashamo, Ethiopia – a bone-crunching nine hour drive from Jijiga, the regional capital. It’s early in the morning, and the noisy generator is cranking out its last few minutes of power before we shut it down for the day.
Ethiopia: 'You gave my baby a second life'
When Istohil Sheik Ahmed Abdi brought her 9-month-old son Sahane to the Mercy Corps mobile clinic in her area, she hoped to learn why he was so weak. The baby cried constantly, was vomiting and refused to nurse. He had a high fever.
Ethiopia: When no tears come
There was already a crowd at the mobile health site when we arrived. The veranda was a colorful swirl of fabric. Most of the women had a bulge at their side, belly or back that turned out, when unwrapped, to be a baby.
Libya: Youth on the frontlines
Young people here in Libya are looking to promote positive change and have been significant in Mercy Corps' efforts.
Kenya: Cash grant, food provide relief to family
I met Sangaba Abdi Gullet at Barmil during our cash distribution activities. She looked more distressed than the rest of the beneficiaries. From her face, we could tell she’d been through very tough times.
West Bank and Gaza: Empowering the techno-geeks of Palestine
This summer, I attended an event in the Gaza Strip with 100 computer-science students and budding entrepreneurs about the latest open-source software and development tools, showcased by engineers visiting from Google.
Haiti: Art therapy camp for Port-au-Prince youth
This past August, we took 20 school-age children to a mountainside retreat outside Port-au-Prince for six days of activities designed to heal emotional wounds from the 2010 earthquake.