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.
Jordan, Syria: Syrian wrestling champion brings hope to refugee youth
Mohammed Al Karad spent more than a decade as a star Syrian athlete. Now a refugee at Zaatari, he's channeling his past to be a positive role model for young Syrian refugees at Mercy Corps' Youth Center.
Colombia: Soccer moves a generation towards peace
In Colombia, we use soccer to prevent youth violence and encourage leadership skills. This week, community coaches from the program are visiting our global headquarters to hone their skills and learn about youth development.
Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria: Voices of Syria's youth: What it's like to grow up as a refugee
As part of our new research, we asked youth affected by the Syria crisis to describe their struggles and hopes. See their art and photos — and learn what we must do to help this generation rebuild.
Lebanon, Syria: Leaving home behind: Young Syrian refugees speak out
Four young Syrian refugees created videos to share their stories of fleeing home in search of safety and the heartbreaking moments that followed.
Jordan, Syria: Inside Azraq, Jordan's newest refugee camp
Learn about the new safe haven that was designed to give Syrian refugees a better sense of structure and community amid the uncertain future they face.
Jordan, Lebanon, Syria: New workbooks help Syria's children tell their story
See the beautiful images by Syrian-born illustrator Lina Safer in our Comfort for Kids workbooks, which help young refugees heal through creative expression and stay connected to their culture.
Q+A: How we reach youth in conflict
We believe young people are a powerful force for positive change. Our Director of Conflict Management discusses how we protect youth from violence and engage them in opportunities to build a better tomorrow.
Guatemala: Recipes for a bright start: Healthy meals for Guatemala's children
Learn how to make the dishes we're teaching mothers to cook for their children to fight malnutrition and prepare them for a happy future.
Kyrgyzstan: Nourishing success in rural communities
In mountainous Kyrgyzstan, we're helping people from the field to the classroom get the resources they need to build healthy, productive lives.
Kyrgyzstan: Meet our field staff: Alexander and Bakhtiyar
Alexander Kirillov and Bakhtiyar Ergashev have been part of our team in Kyrgyzstan since we began work there 20 years ago. Today, they're leading the fight against hunger and malnutrition in the country.