“I am Leen Abou Jaoude. I am 11 years old, and this is my voice.” These words begin a story that shows what young people can do for God’s kingdom when they are given a chance to flourish and be heard.
Reflecting on her appearance on the SAT-7 ARABIC programme You Are Not Alone, Leen says, “For eight years I silenced my voice, because I was worried about how the world would look at me. I was afraid of being different in a society that would not accept me. until one day I decided to come here, to this studio, to talk about the thing that scares me most. That day, I found out I am not alone.”
During Leen’s interview on You Are Not Alone, presenter Sirene Semerdjian asked her what she prayed for. “To be able to read and write,” she replied. Through tears, she shared how severe dyslexia and the social stigma surrounding it left her afraid to go to school or ask for help. Sirene then introduced her to a fellow guest – 23-year-old Mohammad, a successful dentistry student who revealed that he also had dyslexia.
Knowing that her disability need not limit her opportunities changed Leen’s life, strengthened her trust in God, and empowered her to speak out for others who often go unheard in Middle Eastern society.
In one of the world’s youngest regions, where children and youth (aged up to 24) count for nearly half of the population, ministering to young people is a key priority for SAT-7.
“From our earliest days, SAT-7 has been committed to sharing God’s love with young people in the Middle East and North Africa,” explains SAT-7 CEO Rita El-Mounayer. “We long to see them entering into fullness of life in Christ and enjoying the fruits of His Kingdom; and we know that the future of our precious but troubled region lies in their hands.”
An especially effective way to minister to young people through media is to enable them to witness to each other. Through a series of 100 spots on the children’s channel SAT-7 KIDS, a space has been opened for children to express themselves and encourage others watching at home. “I thank God for the life he gives us every day,” says young Christina from Syria. “I thank Him because He saved us from war,” contributes Marianne from Iraq.
“One of SAT-7’s key priorities is to recruit young presenters as role models for youth who can be their voice on our channels and social media,” says Ms El-Mounayer.
Several new programmes currently in production by SAT-7’s children’s channel SAT-7 KIDS are fronted by young presenters. One is Cupcake, in which young people discuss topics about harmful behaviours and how to address them in a spiritual way. One of the young presenters is Tia, who expresses how she loves letting other people her age hear about Jesus. Another example is By The Way, a programme presented and written by teenager Markus Kashouh, in which he addresses problems and challenges faced by his generation in Lebanon.
SAT-7 KIDS is also innovating to minister to today’s children through a variety of formats. The Quality Time programme encourages teenagers, to spend time with God and in reading God’s word, while also expressing themselves and discussing challenges they face. A new biblical trauma healing series is designed to help young people overcome the difficulties they face and improve their mental health. And the channel’s first-ever in-house animated film for children, Above the Clouds, is now being screened.
Viewers express their gratitude to SAT-7 for what it is doing in their lives, what they can learn, and how it encourages them. Nour, a young Arab viewer, is thankful for SAT-7 and for the way it helps children “lift up their faith and love Jesus more”.
Daniel, an Arab parent, agrees. “Through your activities, you have greatly aided me as a parent in teaching about Jesus and His love for us. Thank you for bringing us delight.”
*Viewer names have been changed
Young children share on My Opinion
My Opinion is a new SAT-7 KIDS series of 100 short programme spots in which children share their experiences of faith and God. In this spot they share what they thank God for.