'My School' and 'Puzzle' – TV Programmes Addressing Marginalized Children in the Middle East

Presented by Juliana Sfeir, Sat 7 (Lebanon)


Some children don't go to school. Many are refugees or internally displaced children whose chances of education have been destroyed. Others are too poor to attend, or they miss out, simply because they are girls. Those that can go to school, often receive poor-quality education. Teachers frequently rely on rote learning and violence to maintain discipline. Challenging traditional ways of thinking is discouraged.

When the conflicts in Syria and Iraq began, SAT-7 needed to adjust some of its programming and create new shows to address the needs of the region. SAT-7 Kids created an informal school program, My School, starting with the early years of KG3, Grade 1, 2, 3, and 4, in response to the growing refugee crisis. With the establishment of SAT-7 Academy, the program continued, and included short educational songs, clips, character building segments and life skills to hold the full 90 minutes. Children enjoy an informal education with a holistic approach. The brand not only targets children, but also parents and teachers with the wider issues of the whole region.

SAT-7 Academy’s programming focuses on education, health, and social development. The recent children's rights game and music show, Puzzle, allows them to participate actively in the academy’s programming. It hosts children from different religious, cultural, and socio-economic backgrounds. Puzzle is a platform through which children of different nationalities get together, and express themselves whilst playing and creating their own songs. The workshop will present both experiences and discuss impacts and challenges.

What makes this experience relevant to others?

It is our duty as a Christian media to be the salt in unsalted areas, and light where darkness prevails. And just like Jesus who loved the hordes and attended to the needs of the poor, the sick, the rejected, the lonely, and ignorant, without any condition so we are called to do: to stand up for the weak, to seek justice for all, to be peacemakers, and build His unseen Church.

Interested in further resources?

Find here a selection of publications on children's television from the CAMECO literature database.