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
Breaking the Cycle of Poverty
After graduating from secondary school, 18-year-old Maftuna found herself like many of her peers in the 4,500-person Galatoy community near Margilan, Uzbekistan: jobless with few prospects for employment.
Sri Lanka: A Few Words Go a Long Way
The din of over a hundred kids packed into a makeshift school building was building to a roar. According to Thulasimani, a second-grade teacher at Komari School, it is usually noisy but this was something different. “There is an excitement in the air,” she said.
Guatemala: Mapping Out a Healthier Future
Rosmina is keeping tabs on the women of Cucanha, Guatemala. She knows who's pregnant, how far along they are and many other details about their lives. Are these things really her business? Yes - exactly.
Guatemala: A Volunteering Spirit
Three-year-old Maynor sits in his mother's lap, barely conscious. He is pallid, exhausted and falling limp in his mother's arms.
Guatemala: Reaching Out to Mothers in Guatemala
Guatemala's wild, verdant Polochic Valley feels like a secret. It's a narrow, winding seam in the country's colorful fabric. As the Polochic River rushes toward the Caribbean, past indigenous Q'eqchi and Poqomchi villages, it seems to be the only thing in a hurry to reach its future.
Honduras: Filling the Information Gap in Honduras
The Lindo family did not know why their 3-year-old daughter Teresa couldn't seem to shake a long-running illness. It seemed to have no cure.
Sri Lanka: Team of Youth for Development, Understanding, and Progress (TYDUP): The Play’s the Thing
Along the beachfront road in Kinniya, on the corner beside the gutted remains of Kinniya District Hospital, a hand-lettered sign has been nailed to a tree: TSUNAMI JUNCTION
Sri Lanka: Rebuild Sri Lanka: The Power of Private Initiative
Making a Splash in the Community
It seems like most youth in Kursumlja plan to leave the municipality as soon as they can. Kursumlja is one of the most economically-depressed municipalities in Serbia and youth see no hope of finding their future here.
India: Children Returning to Childhood in India
Pondicherry, India - In the tiny village of Kanapathichettikullum, just 15 kilometers north of Pondicherry, the sixty concrete and thatch huts that make up this community bore an unimaginable brunt.