A GIRLY PROGRAM FOR YOUNG PERSIAN WOMEN

Presenter Parastoo Poortaheri and the SAT-7 PARS team are planning a new live show that will offer vital support to girls aged 8–15.

During a few quiet moments in her busy work day, we spoke to Parastoo about her inspiration and goals for this new program.
What inspired you to create a live show for girls?
Girls and women in Iran and Afghanistan are not treated equally to men. In Afghanistan, the majority of girls do not go to school. In Iran, some girls from poor families are at risk of being forced into child labour. Even families in better situations cannot afford to send their daughters to school.

We can provide something that these girls desperately need: the chance to learn and talk about issues that are not otherwise discussed, with a Christian perspective. There are no other programs like this on Persian TV.

What topics do you want to open up for discussion?
We want to discuss challenging subjects that affect the intended age group, such as loneliness, rejection and how girls can protect themselves. There is so much sexual abuse of young women, but no-one ever talks about it in Persian culture. We cannot talk about these issues in great depth, but we can help open a dialogue. We want to break down the culture of shame.

We also want to open a discussion about insecurities around physical appearance and encourage viewers to maintain a healthy body image. Many girls in the Middle East undergo plastic surgery or develop eating disorders because they are ashamed of the way they look. As well as discussion, Girly will include segments about health, relevant books, films, and craft projects.

How will you approach such sensitive and culturally controversial issues?
My goal is not only to give the audience information. We want to provide an interactive show where girls can call in anonymously and ask for advice so that we can help where we can. This approach will also help the SAT-7 PARS team better understand the current situation for girls and young women in Iran.

We approach topics from a biblical, a social, and a psychological perspective. We want to present a balanced, well-rounded view to give our young audience something to think about. Ultimately, we want these girls to know how valued they are in God’s eyes.

Do you see yourself as a “big sister” figure to these young women?
No. I want to be friendly and to be myself. I do not want to be seen as a big sister who knows everything because I simply don’t! I want them to know that I am one of them. I am here to listen, and we will approach these problems together.

The program is expected to begin live broadcasting in December 2016.


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