EQUIPPING THE GIRL CHILD IN TIMES OF CRISIS
Creating a space for truth, discussion, and support, SAT-7’s programs challenge social norms that marginalise and discriminate against girls, inspiring change for the future women of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
“My dream is to educate my two daughters and help them stand up for themselves like the women I see on the program,” shares a Sudanese refugee woman after watching an episode of Needle and New Thread – the SAT-7 ARABIC program that has impacted the lives of millions of viewers and has inspired women to understand how the world can be a different place for their daughters. “Sometimes I am shocked that you talk about these things on TV, like Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and domestic violence. For me these are painful experiences, but I thought they were normal parts of being a woman. Watching this program made me feel that they are not normal. My sadness and shame were validated. I will not do the same to my girls. They are five years old and two, and I am taking good care of them.”
Women and girls are especially vulnerable and lack opportunities in the Arab world with illiteracy rates as high as 33 per cent. This is due to sons being given priority for schooling, and many daughters not being allowed to go to school. In addition, girls are more vulnerable to domestic abuse, especially during times of crisis and social instability, as the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown have revealed.
Apart from not growing up with an education and opportunities for their future, girls are raised to feel inferior, much like the Sudanese mother and viewer of Needle and New Thread, not realising that they have a choice and the right to speak up for their needs and wants.
Most of these girls, especially refugees, are forced into early marriage by the age of 12, some raped or forced into prostitution by their much older husbands, and many fall victims to domestic violence being regularly beaten by their husbands. In Egypt and Sudan, up to 87 per cent of girls between the ages of 5 and 14 are subjected to FGM – a horrific and potentially fatal practice affecting over 200 million girls and women worldwide.
In more developed parts of the region, girls who are able to go to school are limited in their choices, not given the chance to choose their area of study or occupation, and are forced by their families to work in specific fields.
To ensure a better future for women in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) SAT-7 strives to equip young girls from childhood, especially through crises, with educational and spiritually impactful programming that plant the right seeds in their hearts and minds. SAT-7 continues supporting young girls through social media engagement, and young adults through talk shows that raise topics regarding women’s rights and encourage young women to practice critical thinking and self-expression.
In addition, SAT-7 raises awareness of issues, and inspires mothers to speak up so the new generation of girls will grow up safe and protected, to be influential members of society, and enjoy their rights.
Today, on International Day of the Girl Child, join us in prayer for the new generation of young girls in the Middle East and North Africa. Pray that they will experience equality and freedoms that previous generations of women were denied, pray for their safety and education, and pray for SAT-7’s impactful programming to continue to reach women and girls across the region and continue inspiring generations and communities to work together to fight for theirs’ and their daughters’ rights and freedoms.
Will you support SAT-7’s life-giving programming today?