In environments where education seems almost impossible for many children in the Middle East, SAT-7 KIDS breaks through physical boundaries and makes learning possible through satellite television.
As the first and only Arabic Christian channel exclusively for the children of the Middle East and North Africa, SAT-7 KIDS shares God’s Word and Christian values with children using entertainment, culture and knowledge. They aim to make the gospel meaningful to a generation that needs to feel God’s love, especially as they mature and take their place in a society where the future is so uncertain.
In December 2015, our team from The Bible Society of Singapore was blessed with the opportunity to visit the headquarters of SAT-7 Lebanon in Beirut. We were encouraged to hear how they were impacting many lives in difficult circumstances. We were particularly excited to know that our contribution to the programme Madrasati, also known as My School, has been helping children refugees to learn.
The idea first started when war erupted in the Middle East, which resulted in a refugee crisis. To address one of their needs, SAT-7 KIDS decided to provide education to children refugees through the television. Almost every family in the Middle East owns a satellite dish and these satellite dishes can be found in refugee camps as well. It was the best means possible to reach out to people.
“We thought that we needed a change in this generation and this change can be spiritual through SAT-7 KIDS; it can also be through My School by giving them basic education,” said Andrea Elmounayer, Broadcast Manager of SAT-7. “How can the children read the Bible if they don’t know how to read?”
Andrea shared a story of how a Syrian refugee family is learning together by watching My School. The testimony was sent by the mother.
“It is a sacred time for my kids when My School airs and no one is allowed to visit us – not the neighbours or the family – no one is allowed to call us either.”
Only their uncle and his children can visit so that they can watch the programme together. Her kids force them all to sit and watch and learn, and they forbid anyone to talk or move. They sit as if in a classroom and learn from the teachers in the episodes. Then, they would write down what they learn. They even got their mother, an illiterate, a work book. The kids said to their mother, “Here is your workbook. You must learn to read and write – go ahead now and start writing.”
My School is not only teaching the children but also educating adults who are illiterate. They are looking into widening the syllabus in their programmes as well as cater to the learning needs of a larger age group.
They asked us to keep their work in prayer as they make God’s love visible in the Arab world. The contribution we made has run out and they are not able to produce new episodes. They are currently re-running past episodes.