As Mother’s Day approaches with its Hallmark® cards, flowers, and dinners, we often think of our mothers. The commercials and ads can make it a difficult holiday for those who have lost their mothers, or those who struggle with a tumultuous relationship with their mothers. Their influence on our lives as women can be profound, whether good or bad. For mothers can be so much more than caregivers, family members and breadwinners. They were created by God to be leaders through their actions and words. “When she speaks her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness.” (Proverbs 31:26)
This applies to women in the Middle East, who like every other woman across the globe, contributes to their families and communities. Yet, unlike many of our mothers who turn to support groups, family members, and blog forums when they face struggles, the women of the Middle East find few resources. Often times, their struggles are swept under the rug. That is why SAT-7 created a platform for women’s voices.
A PLATFORM FOR WOMEN’S VOICES
In an interview with us, Riham Jarjour, the latest presenter to join the SAT-7 women’s program Needle and New Thread pointed out the need for a platform for women as women. “Every woman has her struggles. Needle and New Thread is like a room with glass walls. When we are transparent, women join in, speak freely, and listen to one another.” There is a personal connection. The live program, with the help of Riham, enables women to express themselves openly without fear of judgment or prejudice. It helps them to be more than just caregivers, family members, or breadwinners.
WHY DO WOMEN NEED A PLATFORM?
In a culture where the issues that affect them have been sidelined for decades, women are thirsty for recognition. They need a safe space where they can discuss their problems. They need a community in which they do not feel ignored or abandoned.
Needle and New Thread is presented by women, for women. The team discusses culturally sensitive topics such as sexual abuse, attitudes toward mental health issues, and dating in a conservative culture.
These topics resonate with the women watching, evident by the increasing number of messages and calls received from viewers during live broadcasts. Some women are bravely sharing their experiences of sexual abuse. Others have asked for parenting advice on how to help children who abuse technology, or are viewing pornography.
Most of all, episodes that discussed the sharing of parental responsibilities between wives and husbands and dealing with elderly parents received high levels of engagement from viewers seeking to be equipped both spiritually and practically.
OPENING UP DIFFICULT ISSUES
Producer and Director, Maggie Morgan, explains that some issues have been swept under the carpet even by women themselves. One example of this is physical abuse. Widely accepted in Middle Eastern societies, there are no laws that criminalize domestic abuse. The program continually receives shocking stories and testimonies around this topic. “In one interview with a young boy, he expressed that it was fine for a man to beat his wife if she made him a bad meal,” Morgan says.
To help women discuss these issues, Needle and New Thread takes them on a journey to explore each topic. Field reports depicting women in real-life situations, including stay-at-home mothers, university students, and working mothers, help viewers feel a personal connection to the topic. Each episode also features an expert who gives professional advice.
EXPERIENCE AND EMPATHY
Riham Jarjour, herself a young mother of two, engages openly with the audience about life’s daily issues. During one episode, she spoke about her relationship with her grandmother and how mother figures in a family can leave long-lasting legacies.
“I respect callers who make an effort to call in live and share their problems,” says Riham. “It takes a lot of courage to open up publicly on air. I pray before each episode that I will handle every call well. If a caller’s feelings are hurt, you may lose your credibility. Every single reaction is seen by the audience, so we must be very careful with our facial expressions during a call,” she continues.
DEDICATION TO SERVING VIEWERS
Riham herself goes to great lengths because she believes in women and their equal right to a wholesome life. She lives in Alexandria, Egypt, and travels to Cairo to present the live broadcast of Needle and New Thread. On broadcast days, Riham wakes up at 5 a.m. to get her children ready for school. Then she catches the train to Cairo, spending the night in the city and returning home early the next morning.
Riham is from Syria but has lived in Egypt for 10 years. Her knowledge of Arab culture in several countries has prepared her for her unique contribution to the show, viewed by so many women across the Middle East. As a result, she sees a great opportunity in the program to empower and support women.
This Mother’s Day, why not support mother’s in the Middle East? Your gift of $1 supports 1 viewer for 1 year! Click here to give now!
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