Syria (MNN) –- Amid talk of chemical warfare in Syria comes another disturbing report. The United Nations (UN) says Syria's ongoing turmoil is posing an "unprecedented threat" to children.
In separate reports last week, the UN told the world how Syria’s crisis is impacting the next generation.
On June 12, the UN revealed it had received verified reports throughout 2012 detailing crimes against Syrian children. According to a news release, kids were killed or injured in indiscriminate bombings, shot by snipers, used as human shields, or became victims of terror tactics.
A second report, issued Thursday, updated the Syrian war death toll to nearly 93,000. Since the conflict began two years ago, more than 1,700 children under the age of 10 have lost their lives.
Not only is war erasing the lives of many Syrian children, it’s robbing them of their childhood and a “normal” development. Children of war are often more vulnerable to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). When armed conflict destroys any opportunity for a job or education, kids are left with very few options.
As schools are increasingly drawn into the battlefield, home is becoming one of the only safe places for kids. And just like radio in the days of World War II, TV is becoming a vital companion.
George Makeen of SAT-7, a Christian satellite television ministry to the Middle East and North Africa, says their programming offers kids a rare glimpse of hope.
"These kids [are] really growing up faster because of the pain they are witnessing,” says Makeen. “We try to create this place where they can feel a bit safer, loved, and accepted, away from the trauma they are going through."
The only Arabic Christian TV channel designed completely for children, SAT-7 KIDS airs original dramas, talk shows, game shows, cartoons, music videos, and educational programs. While entertaining kids with age-appropriate content, it also addresses their deeper social, emotional, and spiritual needs.
“We pray for them; we ask them to pray for their countries, present their wishes for the future,” says Makeen. “And through their drawings, through their prayers, you can find amazing stuff.”
The prayers of Syria’s children would humble even the most devout Christ-follower. They ask the Lord to protect everyone in the conflict, not just fellow Christians but Muslims, too.
“When you hear something like this from a kid, you feel impressed, that there is hope for the future,” states Makeen. “These kids learn that it’s not only about them, it’s not only about those who are similar to them, but it’s about humankind.”
Despite the horrors they’re living through, despite the continuous loss of those they love, Syria’s children are showing a resilient faith and hope for the future.
A picture drawn by one of SAT-7 KIDS’ viewers captures this thought perfectly.
“She showed people fighting, things are turned up, and on the top there’s Jesus Christ with [open hands], as if He’s getting everybody on His lap,” Makeen describes.
“Without saying anything, she gives the message…people [are] killing each other, but there is One above them who loves them equally and accepts them equally.”
Pray for the children of Syria.
"Pray for [a] peaceful future; this is the most needed thing," says Makeen. “The situation is really dark, and we don’t know how it will end. So your prayers [are really needed], and lifting up these people [to the Lord].”
Pray for enough funding to keep SAT-7 KIDS on the air.
“If we can give [hope to] one kid who is in pain or in fear, if we can draw a smile on the face of one kid, I think all of what we are doing is worth the effort.”
Click here to keep the hope and love of Christ shining to Syrian children.