MENA (MNN) – Every child has certain rights, but not every child knows it. SAT-7, a satellite TV ministry to the Middle East and North Africa, is teaching children their rights and offering something even better in the love of Christ.
Learning together on Puzzle
Puzzle is a team-based learning program from SAT-7 ACADEMY that airs on both SAT-7 KIDS and SAT-7 ARABIC channels. Julianna Sfeir, the SAT-7 ACADEMY Brand Manager, explains the program.
“Puzzle is a gameshow where we convey learning in a fun way; so we teach children their rights through games and the best way to do it is through professionals. So we reach out to professionals who do this. We use a positive psychology coach and the children will play and they will learn through their hands-on games. So they will play together, some mental games and some of it are physical games and they will challenge each other.”
Each episode has two teams of 25 kids from all different backgrounds. They must learn to work together despite their differing backgrounds. Some children are very poor and some are very rich. Some of the participants are boys and some are girls. They come from different religious backgrounds and from a variety of countries, including Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Egypt and Lebanon.
Common rights, respect for diversity
Sfeir says it is like a social experiment. Instead of focusing on things that divide them, these kids are asked to play together. They learn about the rights they all have in common despite their different backgrounds. They are shown respect and the love of God as they work together to understand how to think critically and healthfully about their situations and cultures.
As the program goes on, kids learn they have a right to be safe and educated. They have a right to be healthy and have a childhood. They also learn that these freedoms come with responsibility. Diversity, communities and the environment should be respected.
After their team games, each child has the opportunity to debrief the lesson in the “confession room”. In that area they are free to think through what they have learned.
“It’s okay to say how you feel. It’s okay to talk about differences and it’s okay to look at the other, not as the different other, the enemy, but it’s okay to discover that you can be friends,” Sfeir says. “You can be friends outside politics, outside war, outside everything that is happening that keeps us from becoming friends.”
Reaching kids and parents
Messages about rights and working together have resonated not only with kids, but also with parents. Sfeir says parents are seeing that raising kids to be aware of their rights and the rights of others in their communities is a good thing. It might be different than how they were raised, but it is a way to create a generation who advocates for what is right for a whole community.
On the last few days of filming for the first season, the kids did not want to leave. Sfeir says kids were crying and asking to stay and see other episodes filmed.
“This tells us a lot about these kids who probably had a touch of heaven, they tasted something,” Sfeir says. “They felt love and acceptance and they felt that they belonged and this is what they need! And these kids were not easy to be dealt with, I tell you, but eventually they were crying because they had to leave. Honestly it was a huge challenge for us.”
The first season’s 26 episodes have finished filming, but Sfeir thinks the results are lasting. The kids all went back to their homes and communities, but seeds for hope were planted. God’s truth about reconciliation and belonging was presented and these kids got to taste a small piece of it for a while.
“The time is ripe, the people are ripe.”
Sfeir says it is clear people are beginning to see truth. She asks people to pray for the Holy Spirit to grow the seeds planted during filming so that kids and their families might know God’s truth.
Please pray that SAT-7 Academy would be able to continue to advocate for children while making the Gospel accessible in new places.
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Image courtesy of SAT-7 USA.