Helping young people affected by crisis

2014
Author: UNFPA

Life in crisis zones is harrowing to everyone, but young people are especially vulnerable. Their vulnerability is exacerbated by factors including:

1. The absence of role models
2. The breakdown of social and cultural systems
3. Personal traumas such as the loss of family members
4. Exposure to violence and chaos
5. The disruption of school and friendships

Those who have been severely traumatized, such as child combatants, will likely need rehabilitation and family reunification services, as well as specialized psychological and physical health care. 

When general information networks break down, it is all the more crucial to ensure young people have access to basic information about their sexual and reproductive health, including how to protect themselves from STIs, such as HIV, and unintended pregnancies. General education is vital as well, both to give young people a sense of structure and to build a foundation on which their societies can grow.

In the aftermath of crises, young people may be separated from their families and support networks. Those with no access to education and no way to earn a living may end up on the streets, where they are vulnerable to sexual exploitation, trafficking and other forms of exploitation.