SAT-7 GIVES PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES A VOICE

Millions of people with disabilities in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) often face social marginalisation. SAT-7’s counselling programs send a vital message of encouragement to viewers with disabilities, showing them that they are loved and valued.

Survivors of the ongoing wars and devastating terrorist attacks in the MENA are often left with the life-long impact of physical disabilities, which they and their families must learn to cope with.

In Syria, many women and children have not only lost family members but have also lost limbs themselves. In Iraq, many who went to war have returned to their families with disabilities. Some survivors of the recent church bomb blasts in Egypt also face a new life of permanent disability.

Besides war casualties, some MENA countries are home to considerable numbers of people with physical disabilities or learning difficulties. There are around 15 million people with disabilities in Egypt alone. They face many hardships, from a lack of state support to labelling and bullying from their neighbours. Many become isolated and financially dependent because they cannot access education or employment.

THE RIGHT TO LIVE AND THRIVE

Witnessing to Christ’s love, SAT-7’s programs encourage people with disabilities not only to survive but to lead fulfilling lives.

The counselling programs Speak Up (Fadfada) and Reshaping (Beltashkeel) interview people with physical disabilities, who share their struggles and the battles they have fought and won. These shows give the speakers the opportunity to express their feelings, faith, and encourage them to be an active part of society.

Safwat contracted polio as a child, but her parents went to great efforts to enrol her in school and support her education. Though she is now a qualified lawyer, she has never been able to practise law.

“I got a job at a lawyer’s office close to our home. I worked for just one week because I found that the job required moving around a lot, going to court and being in crowded places. I wasn’t able to do this,” Safwat said.

Paula Shahin, a man in his thirties, explained that no public or private school would accept him because he was born without arms. But his father refused to give up on him and built Paula a customised desk for his studies. Paula uses his legs to write.

NO-ONE IS HELPLESS WITH JESUS

People with physical disabilities who have been touched by the Lord are a light to the world, inspiring others with their faith despite all they have experienced. God’s compassion has enabled them to move on from feeling condemned and to live lives of joy and self-sufficiency.

Georgette from Lebanon contracted polio as a baby and felt the difference between herself and her siblings as she grew up. Her frustration grew because she could not see a reason for her ordeal. But throughout the darkness, she saw the light the Lord had sent her.

“I couldn’t move, and I was unable to get myself water. I needed someone to care for me all the time,” Georgette said. “I cried out to the Lord to solve this problem, and He answered my prayers. He gave me the gift of an expensive electric wheelchair.

“I used to ask myself, ‘Why did this happen to me?’ But only Jesus could answer me. He changed my character and made me stronger. My family and friends tell me that I am 100% changed. God wants me to be His daughter, and to talk of His good works to me,” she continued.

Paula Shahin also never let his circumstances hold him back. While at university, he loved to show the Lord’s purposes for his life by taking part in many activities including running, table tennis, and other sports. He won gold and silver medals in national athletics competitions and learned to use a computer with his legs.

“God gave us a spirit of success and not failure,” Shahin said. “I always recite Bible verses in this way: ‘The Lord was with Paula so that he prospered’ [from Genesis 39:2]. The Lord gave me a government job in which I help those who need medical treatment because He wants me to testify for Him everywhere,” he said.

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