Ameer*, a 14-year-old boy having his hair cut by a Syrian refugee youth at NRC's youth training centre in Azraq refugee camp in Jordan. 

Ameer told us that he wants to be enrolled in this course because he used to work in his father's barber shop back in Syria, and would like to learn more here. Since he attends school in the camp, and does not fit the target age group for the centre, he cannot enroll. "Well, hopefully I can practice this skill when I'm back in Syria instead of here", says Ameer.

The youth training centre allocates one day each month for camp residents to come and have a free haircut at the site. 

*NRC changed all the names to protect the identity of those featured in this piece

July 1, 2015
Hussein Amri / NRC Jordan
Photo: NRC/Hussein Amri

Supporting youth

Youth are agents of change. We help them build a brighter future.

Today’s generation of youth is the largest ever. Around 1.2 billion people worldwide are between the ages of 15 and 24. More than 80 per cent live in developing nations, many of which are plagued by crisis and conflict.

To be young and displaced

It’s a unique trauma, to overcome the struggles of transitioning to adulthood in times of war. Displaced young people face limited education and options of earning a livelihood, and often don’t have the right to work. Unable to pursue opportunities, they can’t plan a future.

“I need to learn how to count, I need to go back to school…and stop being invisible to the world.”
17-year-old Colombian refugee in Venezuela

Displacement often restricts freedom of movement and exposes young men and women to harassment, exploitation and discrimination. Forced recruitment and gender-based violence are among the most common concerns.

Agents of change

Wherever they settle, we believe displaced youth have a role to play in driving their communities forward. So we give them a platform to make their voices heard.

“My dream is to return to Syria and rebuild my country.”
17-year-old Syrian woman, Jordan
Two young women taking a selfie together. Photo: Ingrid Prestetun/NRC
Youth and young adults are the future, and we want their voices to be heard.

Our work with displaced youth

We empower youth affected by displacement so they can build a better future for themselves and their communities. To do so, we offer educational pathways that help them cultivate their social, emotional and professional strengths.

We create safe and protective spaces where young adults can grow, away from exploitative and discriminatory practices that could take advantage of them.

Our courses range from basic literacy and computer technology to foreign languages, technical training and health. No matter which path they choose, we make sure they have the knowledge and skills to contribute to their communities.

“The training that I acquired from [NRC’s youth] programme helped me to reach my dream career as a journalist.”
Kin Abdi, 25-year-old Somali refugee at the Dadaab camp in Kenya

For over-age youth who missed or dropped out of school, we enable them to pursue learning opportunities and reintegrate into the formal school system. Read more about our education work.

Youth are the leaders of tomorrow. We help them develop their problem-solving skills and apply them to social issues. We guide them as they take their first steps towards civic and social engagement. We support them as they realise their potential, achieve their ambitions and become leaders of positive change in their societies.


Standing up for youth

NRC is an active advocate for displaced youth, leading field and national-level youth coordination platforms and participated in the global Youth and Adolescents in Emergencies Advocacy Group.

In 2016, we played a key role as regional lead in the Middle East on the Global Refugee Youth Consultations and supported UNHCR in its 2016 youth-themed NGO consultations.