As new figures reveal that one in three children in the Middle East are living in conflict zones, SAT-7’s programs are addressing their needs, providing support and promoting peace across the region.
According to reports by Save the Children, more than one in six children worldwide live in areas of armed conflict, with the Middle East having the highest regional figure at a staggering 39%. The consequences for children are severe: they suffer serious psychological trauma and grief; they are denied secure access to education; and they lose their sense of identity and purpose.
As the world marks the International Day of Peace (September 21), SAT-7 is addressing these serious challenges with a range of programs tailored to the needs of children living in the midst of conflict. Some offer sensitive trauma support; others provide high-quality education; and still others give children a platform to share their stories and find new hope.
SAT-7’s CEO Rita El-Mounayer grew up in Lebanon during the country’s civil war. She says, “As a child of war myself, I know how frightening and devastating it is to witness your country being destroyed and people you know hurting – and even dying – as a result of conflict. My father tried to protect my sister and me from the terrifying sounds of gunfire and bomb blasts by putting on the TV and turning up the volume louder and louder as the fighting intensified. I am sure that there are parents across the Middle East and North Africa doing the very same thing today. Many families are watching SAT-7 during these distressing times, and I pray that the Lord is bringing to them a message of comfort and peace through our programs.”
Healing from trauma
A number of SAT-7’s children’s programs provide psychological, emotional, and spiritual support for young viewers living in areas of conflict. Why Is That? is a new SAT-7 KIDS drama for Arab children, addressing trauma. Each story begins with a problem or traumatic event and shows its impact on three children from a Christian family. An old man called Geddo (Grandfather) then helps them process what they experienced and leads them in a game or activity that shines light on God’s presence in times of trouble.
SAT-7 PARS’ Church4Kids is a social media series serving the children of Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan. It offers a weekly Instagram livestream from popular presenter Maryam, along with worship videos and teaching that are sent to the children through secure group messaging apps. The show helps children grow in Christ, even in the midst of their traumatic circumstances.
Kia, one of the participants, said:
“I wanted to share that the great God rules over all things in the world. The almighty God knows what is going to happen. God will take care of us. Never fear anything and remember that the great God is always with you.”
Access to learning
Millions of children in the Middle East are not able to go to school because of conflict, with as many as one in three Syrian children missing out on education as a result of the civil war.
“What am I doing here? I feel sorry for myself,” Karema, a Syrian child living in a refugee camp in Lebanon told SAT-7. “Before I sleep at night I imagine I’m in school studying in class, then my parents pick me up and we go home and live in peace… I wish I could go back.”
In 2015, SAT-7 launched My School, a pioneering program for primary education in the Arab World, as a response to the war in Syria. Five seasons totalling 400 episodes have since been produced, covering core subjects. Additional interactive segments address childhood traumas through art therapy, health awareness, and storytelling.
Since 2017 My School has also been used in learning centres for young Syrian refugees in Lebanon, established by organizations BILADI and Heart for Lebanon. Over 250 episodes are also now available on Tabshoura, a leading e-learning platform designed by NGO Lebanese Alternative Learning.
Production of My School is complete, but its content will continue to be aired on SAT-7 and online platforms to provide life-enhancing learning to children in conflict zones for many years to come.
Telling new stories
As well as addressing the needs of children affected by conflict, SAT-7’s programs and activities provide them with a platform to share their stories and promote reconciliation.
SAT-7 is participating in an on-the-ground project in Lebanon called Lebanon, Our Story (LOS), which brings together diverse young people across traditional divides. The project has offered storytelling clubs for participants to develop a new, shared story of hope for their country. An anthology of the stories was published, and five were made into documentaries for broadcast on SAT-7 ARABIC.
Following the outbreak of conflict in Sudan earlier this year, SAT-7’s Egypt studio produced a series of stories and testimonies of faith from refugees, including children, who fled the violence to Egypt. Series producer John Adly said, “SAT-7 was able to give people a space to express their feelings and talk about their traumas and testify how God supported and protected them and their families.” See one of the videos here.
 Lebanon, Our Story (LOS) is funded by The Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and implemented by SAT-7 in partnership with the Lebanese Bible Society and Humanship. It is supported through The Centre for Church-based Development and SAT-7’s Danish partner, the Danish Bible Society.
Would you please pause and pray for the following right now?
- Lift up the Middle East to the Lord and ask for His peace to bring transformation to the region.
- Pray for children who are living in conflict zones: for their protection, for healing from trauma, and for hope for the future.
- Pray for the impact of SAT-7’s programs and activities that are addressing the needs of children in conflict zones and promoting peace in a troubled region.