It is an extremely difficult and dangerous time to be a child in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). On World Children’s Day (November 20), we consider the challenges they are facing and how SAT-7 is supporting young people and their families with prayer, advice, and the comforting message of God’s unceasing care.
The statistics are heartbreaking. One in three children in the MENA currently lives in an armed conflict zone. More than 20,000 children have been killed in the Syrian civil war; over 11,000 boys and girls have been killed or injured during the ongoing war in Yemen; and there are reports that over 4,000 children have been killed in the Holy Land conflict in the space of just a few weeks.
Conflicts and other crises have created 6.4 million child refugees in the MENA, and one in five of the region’s children – nearly 15 million in total – are not in school.
Understandably, fear and hopelessness are prevalent. But in this distressing context, SAT-7 is using its platform to help children find peace.
SAT-7 KIDS is launching a campaign aimed primarily at 6 to 12-year-olds called “With You, Lord, Safety Abides.” Channel Manager Andrea El-Mounayer said it “emerged as a response to the pressing need to address the challenges faced by children during catastrophic events.”
The campaign will use Bible verses, drama, and other short segments to educate children in an age-appropriate way about complex issues such as war, natural disasters, and death, whilst also offering comfort and support. “The campaign aims to instill a profound sense of security and understanding,” said Andrea. “Our goal is to equip children with effective coping mechanisms, empowering them to manage fears and anxieties.”
Prayer is a powerful weapon against fear, and SAT-7 has been giving children across the region opportunities to participate in live prayer with other youngsters. In Egypt, the With Jesus team staged a prayer and worship event for children and families on October 10, which was broadcast live on SAT-7 KIDS. Around 750 people attended the event.
“We are here today to pray. Many children across the Arab region are joining us in prayer for the region,” presenter Mina Awny said. “Heaven hears the prayers of children. Believe that your voice is heard in heaven. There may be wars and economic crises on earth but in heaven, Jesus is on the throne.” Children watching the broadcast across the MENA region sent videos of their prayers, including a boy called Dany from Kuwait: “Lord Jesus, stop the war and spread your peace in the world, because you are the God of peace. Lord, protect the children and send them provisions during the war.”
Meanwhile, young Iranian viewers joined together in prayer for the situation in the Holy Land on the SAT-7 PARS social media program Church4Kids. Manizheh prayed:
“Dear God, my Jesus, I pray for the many innocent people who are dying because of the war. I pray that you will bring peace. We know that you can hear our voices, and we love you so much because you are the best! In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
SAT-7 TÜRK is supporting children and families in the new season of its parenting show Parents Ask. The catastrophic earthquake in Türkiye in February that claimed over 50,000 lives has left many there feeling fearful and anxious.
In Parents Ask, expert psychologist Dença Kristopuryan demonstrates activities and therapies to help children who are experiencing anxiety and other issues, such as anger. Presenter Nora Yazırlıoğlu explains how Dença uses concrete methods to help children understand abstract concepts. “For example, if a child struggles with anxiety, we hand-craft a shield for them; we cut it out of paper and cover it with aluminium foil. It really looks like a shield. On top of the shield, we then write down words that will encourage us, like ‘I am safe.’
“Thus, with this program, we are creating a space where parents can give concrete resources to their children in an effort to understand them better.”
On World Children’s Day, please pray: