“When you come to the hospital you give the children a dose of oxygen and a breath of life that encourages them to endure their pains.” This is how Amani Ibrahim, volunteer at the Children’s Cancer Hospital in Cairo, described the impact of a series of visits by SAT-7 producer and presenter Mounir Zakhary.
In keeping with his role on Uncle Mounir’s Scribbles, a live art show on SAT-7’s dedicated children’s channel, Mounir drew caricatures of the children and staff. The young patients were also cheered by a time of singing with the SAT-7 KIDS crew and a live band.
Mounir said, “I go [to the hospital] to give hope and optimism to the young patients and their families. I want to film with them to show our viewers their strength and perseverance despite their sickness.
“I can understand why some of them were afraid to be drawn because they were ashamed of what cancer had done to their faces. But I tried to draw them without showing the effect of the disease on their faces. I was very happy that they weren’t afraid to approach me after that.”
Mounir paid special visits to children in their rooms who were too ill to join in with the others. One of them, Youstina, a girl in her early teens, is suffering from depression following the amputation of one of her legs. An avid viewer of Uncle Mounir’s Scribbles, she was excited to hear of his visit to the hospital and enjoyed having her caricature drawn. Youstina had tried to call the programme several times to have Mounir draw her humorous portrait.
He said, “I know what these children are feeling because I experienced illness and I go to hospital for kidney treatment twice a week. I can understand how they feel; that’s why I draw them because it makes them feel valuable and feel good about themselves.”
Uncle Mounir’s Scribbles inspires children to draw the world as they see it through their own eyes and includes interactive and educational content. During one of the hospital visits, Mounir invited two fine art specialists to accompany him and spend time with the children teaching them how to draw. He gave out colouring books and pencils as presents so the children could put into practice what they had learnt.
SAT-7 KIDS was also invited to a celebration organised by the hospital for Childhood Cancer Awareness month to which around 300 children and their families came. The youngsters sang, read poetry and shared their testimonies of healing to spread a message of hope to the other children still receiving treatment.
The hospital visits will be broadcast on the SAT-7 KIDS news programme, AS News. Presented by children, AS News gives youngsters a platform to share stories of God’s work in their lives. The crew plans to make regular visits to the hospital with the aim of motivating and supporting the children in their treatment and encouraging them to fulfill their dreams.