A LIGHTHOUSE OF HOPE IN THE DEEPENING REFUGEE CRISIS
An unprecedented 82 million people are now forcibly displaced as the world marks World Refugee Day. SAT-7 CEO Rita El-Mounayer calls for urgent prayer for those with “nowhere else to go”, while displaced families share how even in the darkest times, they found hope through SAT-7 programming to meet educational and emotional needs.
“The Middle East and North Africa is the largest refugee-hosting region in the world. Millions are displaced or fleeing from war-ravaged countries to neighbouring ones, nations struggling with their own economic and social scars. These desperate families have run to safety, only to find there is nowhere else to go. I ask you to join us in prayer for the millions of refugee families surviving this way today.” – Rita El-Mounayer, SAT-7’s CEO
As crises have deepened in Iraq, Syria, and now the Holy Land, SAT-7’s Arabic channels have developed programming to support refugees who have fled their homes, losing loved ones and livelihoods in the wake of violence and conflict. The SAT-7 ACADEMY program My School, launched to support the disrupted education of displaced children, recently heard from a family whose story illustrates both the deep need and the hope that media can provide.
Yara* is a nine-year-old Iraqi child who could not attend school in Iraq due to violence and upheaval. Since her family fled to Lebanon, she has started to receive an education – and her teachers found she already knew what they thought she had missed. Yara’s mother, Renalda*, explains why:
“She has been watching the My School program since we were in Iraq, and this is why she is excelling, thanks to your teachers. She has already learned from My School all the topics she is studying at school now, and she finds them very easy thanks to you. I thank you so much.”
SAT-7 KIDS programs also offer emotional support and comfort to children affected by conflict. Many Palestinian children have recently called in to Allo Marianne, a children’s worship and prayer program, to pray and express themselves. Layla*, who has called several times, said that even when they heard the bombing, she was not afraid because she knew God would protect her. She also said that she feels peace when she watches Allo Marianne and Bible Heroes, another favourite program, especially when the presenters pray with and for her.
Presenter Marianne Awaraji Daou also recently heard from Jad*, a 17-year-old Syrian boy, who was displaced and kidnapped by militants. He shared that when he was held away from his family, his peace came from the worship songs that he had been learning from SAT-7 KIDS since he was 10 years old.
In addition to supporting refugees, SAT-7 helps nurture their positive bonds with host communities, who face many challenges of their own. The program You Are Not Alone helps build understanding among viewers by giving refugees a space to tell their stories, while the new project Lebanon: Our Story has launched to bring young people from different backgrounds, including refugees, together in Lebanon to rethink a shared vision for the future.
“The LORD watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow” (Psalm 146:9). This verse reminds us of God’s love for all, the love that underpins all SAT-7 aims to do. This World Refugee Day, please pray with us, asking the Lord to protect every refugee and surround them with His love.
• Pray He will keep refugees encouraged and strong in faith through the hardships they face.
• Pray that the rights of refugees will be upheld and protected in the Middle East and North Africa.
• Pray that – against all earthly odds – by next year’s World Refugee Day, we will see an improvement in the condition of refugees around the world and a decrease in the numbers forced to flee their homes.
*Names have been changed to protect identities.
 Source: UNHCR