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: 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.
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.
Egypt: "Our work as young Egyptians has just begun"
While post-revolution euphoria and optimism linger on the streets of Cairo, one particular question hangs thick: what comes after a revolution? As Egyptians celebrate new opportunities for political and economic reform, they also fear the uncertainty of what comes next.
Egypt: A day with the ladies in Upper Egypt
Egypt’s Sohag governorate sits approximately 475 kilometers south of bustling Cairo. The quiet region offers a stunning blend of just about everything — desert, mountains and lush greenery, all while perched on the magnificent Nile.
Haiti: Video: Art Therapy in Haiti
Japan: Starting Comfort for Kids in Japan
Japan: Q&A with Peace Winds' Natsu Nogami
Japan: Helping the Japan tsunami’s littlest survivors
The youngest survivors of disasters are often the most resilient, but also the most fragile. While earthquakes and tsunamis rob children of the same things that most adults hold dear — homes, families, friends — kids lack adult coping mechanisms. The emotional toll can be devastating.