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1st August 2023

At SAT-7, women are creating media that is life-giving to viewers and film crews alike, and that embodies the Christian values of humility, sacrifice, and community.

At The Partnership Gathering, SAT-7’s annual international gathering hosted in March, a session focused on MENA women featured presentations by Egyptian filmmaker Maggie Morgan, SAT-7 TÜRK presenter Şemsa Deniz Bakır, and SAT-7 PARS programming consultant Ghazaleh Soltani. The presentations drew a vibrant and timely picture of Christian ministry by MENA women through the media today, while also sharing the ongoing oppression and limitations experienced by girls and women across the region.

Maggie Morgan: The Power of Local Productions

In Egypt, Maggie Morgan is spearheading SAT-7’s five-year Gender Equality and Freedom of Religion or Belief project. The Today Not Tomorrow program is produced in a mobile studio mounted on the back of a pick-up truck, which travels all over Egypt, creating spaces for conversation with women from rural villages as well as local experts. The conversations focus on women’s issues and freedom of belief.

In the video above, the narrator states, “If SAT-7, a Christian faith-based organization, does not do this work, who else will? We have a calling…to bring about change; life in all its fullness… We dream of human dignity for all because we realize that human rights were first God-given.”

Maggie shares, “It’s really wonderful to have an opportunity not only to make a TV program and social media videos, but also to spend time in community with people from different parts of Egypt, and online with people from different parts of the Arab World.”

Viewers can connect with the channel’s Viewer Support Team, who will talk and pray with them. They are often taken aback by the generosity of the team towards them. This extends the impact of the program beyond the simple viewing experience.

Şemsa Deniz Bakır: Christ-Centered Female Empowerment

SAT-7 TÜRK presenter Şemsa Deniz Bakır believes that how women are viewed and treated by others reflect the state of society. The channel is using Şemsa’s program Homemade, among others, to serve the needs of Turkish women.

“My biggest dream is to show them that there is always hope with the living God,” said Şemsa. “When we reach women, we reach other people too. Helping women means helping everyone.”

Operating in a context where gender violence is normalized, the channel’s women’s programs offer a Christ-centered model of female empowerment. The content is focused on inviting Turkish women to see themselves and their lives through the eyes of a loving God. Viewers are provided with content online and on-air that addresses them as individuals, as well as engaging them in their roles within the family and society. As a result, women from diverse backgrounds are empowered to share their testimonies and have a presence on screen.

Some viewers begin following Christ as a result of these programs, and the team collaborates with local churches to provide new believers with support.

The channel has been able to build and maintain a strong team culture. Presenter and worship leader Nisan Özlem Yapıcı was hesitant to take on a public role at first. But she said, “I figured that God can do things through me, and I decided to try to do my best to reach more people.”

Ghazaleh Soltani: Serving in Exile

SAT-7 PARS programming consultant Ghazaleh Soltani is creating programming that serves Persian-speaking women in Iran and Afghanistan. Yet she and her team are doing this work while living in exile, having themselves fled Iran due to persecution.

The “Woman, Life, Freedom” movement triggered last September by the death of Mahsa Amini while in the custody of the morality police represented a tipping point in Iranian public opinion regarding women’s freedoms. Christian women in Iran suffer from the absence of freedom of religion and from the resulting persecution.

But as Ghazaleh said, the gift of faith is precious and sufficient in this darkness. These past few months, her team at SAT-7 PARS has been learning how to carry on a long-distance ministry while coping with the fact that their own families and friends are at risk of harm. Insiders is one program that has navigated this journey while offering Iranian women a platform to be heard.

 

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