Youth Action International (YAI) is an international nonprofit registered 501©3 organization. The organization’s mission is to provide education, health care and economic empowerment for children and young people living in postwar African countries.
Founded in 2005 by Kimmie Weeks, a survivor of the Liberian conflict and longtime advocate for children, youth and families. Each of YAI’s projects is developed through extensive research and dialog with the community the program will be implemented. YAI works on the ground in post-war Liberia, Uganda and Sierra Leone and in close partnership with local community groups, government ministries and NGOs to address the issues of former child soldier reintegration; lack of economic and business opportunities; lack of training for women; and lack of access to education.
YAI’s programs focus in one of three areas:
Target group – ages 0-12: Programs within this category focus on positive early childhood development through the provision of basic individual and school-related necessities; homework assistance and support; as well as the creation of safe, structured environments for play and learning. This area also advocates for the protection and wellbeing of children.
Youth Development/ Empowerment
Target group – ages 13-35: Within this category, YAI focuses on promoting the well-being and empowerment of war affected, former child soldiers, and economically disadvantaged youth in the poorest communities. Youth participants are particularly high-risk and in critical need of interventions that assist them in recovery and filling social, behavioral, educational, and other developmental gaps resulting from extended periods of civil unrest.
Success ‘Opportunity Meets Preparation’ Program for Women
Target Group – ages 13-35: This program area focuses on supporting the needs and development of women affected by war and girls at risk of sexual exploitation or domestic violence. It focuses on equipping and preparing young girls and women with information and opportunities that can allow for self-sufficiency and independence, and lessens the possibility of sexual exploitation and violence against them due to their social and economic circumstances.
• 100,000 youth benefit from YAI’s youth empowerment programs.
• 40,000 people in the U.S. and Europe are inspired by Kimmie’s inspirational messages annually
• 10,000 pre-primary children receive education materials through YAI’s early childhood development initiatives.
• 7,000 children climb on a new playground and rediscover their childhood.
• 1,200 youth in the U.S. are actively engaged through YAI member chapters.
• 800 single mothers gain work skills, receive micro-loans and claim a place of influence in their communities.
• 400 young people learn via “lifetime” scholarships and experience the strength of education.