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Mercy Corps

There are more than one million youth who are actually refugees in various war zones. Mercy Corps is reaching out to thousands of refugee families with cash to help them with their basic needs: food, water and shelter. Apart from that, Mercy Corps also works towards helping people, particularly children, cope with the trauma they have experienced. Psychosocial support is offered and young people are helped to learn to express their feelings through art therapy workshops.

Currently, Mercy Corps supports four community-led youth centres in Syria. It is rather interesting to note that each of these centres uses a special approach tailored to help adolescents and the local community. These programmes are in line with their other work with adolescents in the region that spans across Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. An estimated 5.6 million Syrian children are in need of humanitarian assistance. At least half of them have been forced to flee from their homes. These children face challenges at every turn with frequent food and water shortages, electricity and healthcare that are hard to come by, and above all schooling which is constantly being interrupted.

It is painful to imagine growing up in a war zone. These children live in constant fear of losing their lives and the lives of their loved ones. As the brutal war continues around these children, parents keep them at home for fear of the dangers outside. Instead of worrying about homework, they live in fear of being killed. According to a Mercy Corps’ report, adolescents living through the war feel hopeless and isolated. Youth centres are set up with the support of the Mercy Corps. Here, the young Syrians learn to cope by expressing themselves through art. They are given the opportunity to interact with other children of their age and learn important life skills. They get to play sports and spend time outdoors. Mercy Corps has also built a vocational training centre. Here women are able to attend computer and English classes. There are also embroidery, tailoring and calligraphy classes.

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psychosocial (n) – relating to social and psychological factors.
adolescents (n) – teenagers; young people growing into adults.
humanitarian (adj) – helping to reduce suffering and improving the welfare and happiness of people.
isolated (adj) – alone.

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