‘My School’ TV Program Teaches Potential ‘Lost Generation’ Children in Refugee Camps
NASHVILLE, Feb. 25, 2016 | Christian News Service | -- Rita El Mounayer, chief channels and communications officer at the faith-based broadcast nonprofit, SAT-7, will be available at the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) convention here this week to discuss the launch of My School, a television program providing daily access to instruction in core subjects for refugee children whose lives and learning have been violently disrupted.
“Educators estimate that some children have missed as much as three years of schooling,” said El Mounayer. “That lost generation, without the skills to succeed in the modern world, will be open to exploitation, child labor, early marriage and recruitment by militant groups.
“These are children; they deserve better than that,” added El Mounayer, who grew up during Lebanon’s civil war, an experience that gave her a heart for those suffering from conflict, especially the region’s children. In 2007, she launched SAT-7 KIDS, the first independent Arabic faith-based channel for children.
Today, the educational problem among refugees is acute and widespread. UNICEF’s 2015 report, Education Under Fire, found that:
- 13.4 million children in the region are not able to attend school because of armed conflict -- 40 percent of school-age children from Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya and Sudan.
- More than half of Syrian refugee children in the five main host countries of Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt are not in school.
- In some areas, that figure is even higher: in Lebanon, which has taken in the largest number of refugees, 78 percent of Syrian children are out of school.
To address the need, Arabic language children’s channel SAT-7 KIDS, launched an ambitious education initiative in 2015 to enable children who cannot attend a physical school to continue learning.
SAT-7 is continuing the tradition of Christians pioneering in the field of education.
My School provides engaging and interactive lessons in the key subjects of Arabic, English and math for 4-to-5-year-olds. A second phase, which went on air in October, is aimed at 5-to-7-year-olds, with science added to the curriculum. The lessons are taught by qualified Syrian teachers.
My School is on for 90 minutes every weekday, and SAT-7 plans to expand it as more funding becomes available.
SAT-7 satellite TV enables it to reach into refugee and displaced communities in a way that overwhelmed aid agencies often cannot. SAT-7 KIDS has been helping to meet children’s educational, emotional and spiritual needs, presenting the hope and peace that only Christ can offer.
“We have a unique opportunity to demonstrate the compassion of Christ, delivered through the most modern technology available, to these children,” said El Mounayer. “We want them to know that Christ – and Christians – care about them.”
SAT-7 is a Christian television network based in Cyprus, broadcasting in the Arabic, Farsi and Turkish languages throughout the Middle East and North Africa. The ministry currently has five channels (SAT-7 ARABIC, SAT-7 PARS, SAT-7 KIDS, SAT-7 PLUS and SAT-7 TÜRK), each of which holds to a similar ethos - show viewers God’s love, give local churches a satellite TV platform to educate and encourage their communities, combat misconceptions about the Christian faith in the region, work inter-denominationally, and foster bridges of understanding with the much larger non-Christian majority without compromising the truth of God’s word. For more information, go to www.sat7usa.org.