Less than a year ago, SAT-7’s Farsi-language channel, SAT-7 PARS, launched the program, A Girl’s World, for girls aged 8-15 in Iran. The program was designed to provide support for tweens and teens by frankly discussing topics that typically go unaddressed in Middle Eastern society—things like body image/outward beauty, inner beauty, death of a loved one, rejection, loneliness, and protection from sexual harassment and abuse.
In a very recent and very timely episode, discussion focused on saying ‘no’ and on how important it is for girls and women to understand that it is our right to say ‘no,’ especially in situations where inappropriate touching may be involved. “Unfortunately, kids grow up learning to accept everything and that it’s rude to say ‘no,’” says program presenter Parastoo Poortaheri. “But sometimes, it’s their right to say ‘no.’ This episode aims to teach them how and when to use this word.”
The episode about being beautiful inside and out stressed that good behavior—which comes from inside—is actually what makes us even more beautiful. “Iran is a country known for taking care of its outer beauty,” Parastoo says. “Therefore, I think we need to remember that it’s our hearts that make us beautiful more than anything else.”
In a segment called, “Girl Problems,” the day-to-day issues of caring for one’s outward beauty were given due coverage. A lot of viewers participated by calling the live show and giving their opinions on hair care, fashion, diet, etc.—topics of interest to girls of all ages. “It was a helpful discussion,” Parastoo says.
A new season began last month and with it came a few changes in the look of the sets and a couple of new segments. Parastoo started a karaoke segment—a “first” on SAT-7 PARS—in which she sings a worship song and then teaches it to the audience. “We hope that this way we can teach our kids more about the Bible through these songs,” she says, “and teach them how to worship God on their own.”
The program has been well received by the target audience and also by younger girls, parents, and older girls aged 20 and above. Here are some responses:
- A mother wrote to us that her daughter’s attitude has changed and her behavior is improving since she started watching A Girl’s World.
- A girl asked for a children’s Bible and said that she has a lot of questions that need to be answered. She said that she loves Jesus a lot.
- Some viewers said that through this program they learned to pray and to be a better version of themselves.
- Many said that they learned how to handle day-to-day issues.
- Most of them like the topics we cover in this show.
- Many said they learned to be kind to one another and help others in need.
Parastoo notes, “The messages we receive on a day-to-day basis are not only greetings but are messages that help us build/adapt our program to our audience’s needs…. We are reaching a point where the program is encouraging girls to be brave, have an opinion, and be empowered.”
While A Girl’s World’s main audience is in Iran, the program’s reach extends to Farsi speakers in Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Europe, and to refugees in Turkey. A new segment in the new season will include a viewer in Turkey who wanted to be part of the show.
As Women for Middle East HOPE, we, too, can be “included” in bringing the encouragement of God’s Word to the Farsi-speaking women and girls of Iran, Afghanistan, and beyond! Partner with us by sending your gift today!
© SAT-7 2017