to be ready for the future.

Children and young people

All over the world millions of children and young people have an extremely difficult start to life, from missing out on basic education to being exposed to violence, exploitation and abuse. In the UK, children and young people that miss school and fail to reach their potential are often coping with difficult life experiences, like caring for an adult, or living with parents who are battling substance or alcohol use.

We have the largest generation of young people in the world ever. This creates particular challenges, like creating enough jobs, but there’s also huge opportunity. Young people have a vast amount of creativity, ideas, energy and hope. They have the potential to be a force for positive change. We want to facilitate and help young people be at the forefront of change.

Evidence suggests that support early on in life produces happier, more secure and productive young adults. Through our funding, we want to help children and young people move successfully through crucial key life transitions - into school, into adolescence and into a fulfilled and positive adulthood.


Good quality, safe ongoing education

An African boy in a wheelchair with his friends

We improve access to quality education and life skills by supporting work that:

  • Reaches the most marginalised - working in sub-Saharan Africa, we want to overcome major barriers like conflict, weak education systems, stigma and discrimination and help more children and young people get a good quality education. While enrolment in education has increased dramatically, many children are still left behind – usually the most marginalised and the hardest to reach, such as children living in extreme poverty, girls, disabled young people or children living on the streets or working. And millions of children are in school but not learning - we want to help the least advantaged to read, write, learn maths and life skills.
  • Second chances - all sorts of things can bring education to an abrupt end – conflict, natural disasters, displacement, HIV and AIDS, disability, religion, gender or language. In the UK, it could be anything from family breakdown to caring responsibilities. We support holistic, flexible approaches to education and training that keep young people learning.
  • Keeps learners safe - we support safer educational environments, protecting children from all sorts of threats, from gender-based abuse, to those affected by conflict and war. We support projects that give children a voice, while encouraging a ‘whole-school’ approach - uniting pupils, frontline staff, school leaders, parents and the community in a bid to make schools safe, fulfilling places to be.


Protection from violence, conflict and abuse

Champa and her friends from Dhaka

Children all over the world are exposed to violence and exploitation including trafficking, gender-based violence, sexual abuse and exploitation, child labour and armed conflict. This can destroy a young person’s physical and mental health, affecting them long into adulthood. We believe children and young people should be protected and empowered so they can shape their own futures. We help to achieve this through supporting work that:

  • Provides safety – working internationally and in the UK, we support organisations that take a holistic approach, looking at the many factors that affect children’s development and well-being. We support work that helps to strengthen the individual’s and the communities’ resources, providing everything from education to training, so we can help all sorts of vulnerable groups - whether it’s street and working children, trafficked young people, refugees on the move, families just arrived in a new country, or unaccompanied children.
  • Creates safer families – working internationally and in the UK, we help tackle physical, emotional or sexual abuse and domestic violence.


Building young people’s enterprise and leadership

Engaging young people in their futures

Working in the UK and internationally, we support projects that use innovative new ideas that help to give young people a voice through initiatives that:

  • Build their confidence and self-esteem, and improve their decision-making skills.
  • Encourage understanding of the power they have through collective action.
  • Empower them to secure the resources they need.
  • Bring about positive change in their environment, through anything from shaping cultural values to tackling government policy.
  • Equip them with the relevant skills and training to enable them to grow businesses and gain productive employment.

Other programme areas