SAT-7 KIDS supports children experiencing trauma
Tens of millions of children in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are victims of conflict. Many are at risk of unimaginable trauma, having witnessed horrific violence, lost loved ones, or suffered injuries. SAT-7’s programs are supporting these vulnerable children, and their families, to manage trauma and begin to heal. Especially SAT-7 KIDS is focusing on bringing new hope.
When children are displaced – as are 2.5 million from Syria alone – they endure the additional trauma of losing their homes and stability. Many child refugees endure dangerous journeys or separation from their parents. Displaced children are also vulnerable to abuse, child marriage, or even recruitment as child soldiers.
A LIFELONG IMPACT
The trauma caused by these events can impact children both emotionally and physically. Child conflict victims may experience feelings of anxiety, sadness, and anger, or suffer headaches or stomach aches. They may develop low self-esteem or behavioural problems, fall behind developmentally, or struggle at school.
Some children can be very resilient, but strong adult support is often needed to prevent the worst impacts of trauma. Unfortunately, parents struggling with trauma themselves may be less able to help, and relationships in displaced families are threatened by difficult living conditions.
When traumatised children go without support, the consequences for their life chances can be devastating. They may have long-term difficulty managing their emotions and behaviour, struggle in their relationships, and take dangerous risks. Untreated trauma can cause long-term mental and physical health problems and increase the risk of heart disease, cancer, and early death.
HELPING FAMILIES HELP CHILDREN
It is vital that we prevent these unthinkable costs to children, families, and societies in the MENA. As a trusted source of information available even to many displaced families, SAT-7 KIDS is uniquely placed to help young viewers manage trauma.
Several programs also reach out to parents and caregivers. The current season of the SAT-7 ARABIC program With Smyrna is educating adults about trauma in bitesize, three-minute episodes, providing practical strategies for supporting children of all ages. The show also helps parents build healthy relationships with their children that can help protect youngsters from the effects of future trauma.
IT’S GOOD TO TALK
The women’s counselling program Speak Up, on SAT-7 ARABIC, recently ran a special episode that invited mothers of traumatised children to call in for support. SAT-7’s telephone counselling centres are also on hand to provide prayer and advice for viewers of all ages.
FINDING GOD’S PEACE
The many Christ-centred programs on SAT-7 KIDS show child conflict victims that they are not alone, their true identity is in Jesus, and they can pour out their feelings in prayer. SAT-7’s Deputy CEO Rita Elmounayer, who grew up during Lebanon’s civil war, knows the difference faith can make.
“We can’t make the fighting stop, but we can bring peace to children of war and their families by making known the Prince of Peace. I can personally testify to experiencing the comfort of Christ’s peace within when war was raging outside,” she said.