Middle East (MNN) – Education. How often is this word thrown around and its meaning displaced? Education can mean seven hours spent in school each day. It can mean textbooks.
Or it can mean freedom.
And for many kids in the Middle East, school isn’t even a possibility anymore because they’re now living as refugees and displaced persons.
Rex Rogers with SAT-7, a Christian satellite television ministry to the Middle East and North Africa, explains, “The United Nations is saying as many as many as 20-million Arab children are either out of school or right at the edge of significant risk of losing their schooling for a variety of reasons. The violence being most of it.”
Since 2011, Syria has been in an uproar. It all began with riots which snowballed into a civil war, resulting in hundreds of thousands of people having to flee their homes, taking hardly anything with them. Some live in refugee camps, others have fled to Europe. But Syria isn’t the only country dealing with unrest.
With the way things are going in the Middle East, the fighting and violence isn’t about to end anytime soon, which leads to the long-term problem. How are nearly 20-million kids going to have a successful future if their childhood and adolescence is spend running from war instead of growing their mind?
“So very quickly you can have a nine-year-old boy who has not been in school for five years. And five years goes by and he’s fourteen and able to carry a rifle. The illiterate are the ones who are the most vulnerable to extremist ideas, extremist groups,” Rogers says.
For these young people, extremist groups potentially have a lot to offer. Why? Because they can provide food, shelter, income, and even status. Five years in the future may seem far away but it’s already been nearly five years since the very beginning of what is now the Syrian refugee crisis.
“So, again we’re very concerned about that. We’re developing a new programing for education on our kids channel that aims at teaching English and Arab-English courses, and economic tools for jobs. But English and Arabic itself, Mathematics, and later science. But behind all that is just teaching them to think independently, to think analytically,” Rogers explains.
In the Middle East, children are taught through memorization. Learning through independent and analytical thought also helps support a mindset accepting of democracy later down the road, and hope for the future that the violence and fighting will one day stop.
But SAT-7 is also trying to share the Gospel with these kids through its programming. “The most important concern of course is their soul, their eternal destiny. We are a Christian channel and we’re still teaching and working from a Christian worldview perspective,” Rogers says.
SAT-7 asks for prayers to keep the programming coming and developing, but it needs the man power for it. Please pray the right teachers and willing workers will come to SAT-7 and work to help these kids and spread the Gospel. Click here for more prayer requests!
Also, if you’re willing, would you consider donating to this ministry? SAT-7 needs financial support to continues reaching these kids. Click here to give!
Because SAT-7 is a satellite television, it reaches all of the Middle East, North Africa, and all of Europe, reaching the most populated areas for Arabic speakers and refugees.