Life is not easy for many people living in South Asia. But it’s not the threat of terrorism or violence in the streets that makes things so difficult. Instead, people’s everyday lives are full of stress due to difficult living conditions.
Prices have tripled on most basic commodities. Natural gas shortages affect millions who need it to cook their meals, heat their homes, and fuel their cars. Rolling power outages are common, so work and home tasks are constantly being interrupted. In the summer, when it’s too hot to sleep inside, people are forced outside to sleep in the streets or up on their roofs. And two million people were forced from their homes due to flooding in the last three years.
“We’ve been here since 1989, and we’ve never seen it so bad,” said one worker. “The physical conditions on the ground are so difficult for people.” Where can hope be found in such a seemingly hopeless place?
One solution is a media ministry that produces videos with messages of love and encouragement. The videos are contextualized to the people group by being dubbed with the national language and by using culturally appropriate words, phrases, and references. One set of videos focuses on family life, a topic that is not considered very important in the culture. “People just don’t know the right way to talk to their wives and need guidance about husband and wife relationships,” one worker said. In one series of teaching skits, each skit addresses a different topic that deals with family life and can be a way to start a deeper discussion about relationships. Another set of videos on the same topic is presented in the format of a TV series, with each show being around 20 minutes long.
Another set of videos has been created to appeal to the younger generation. Around sixty percent of the population in one South Asian country is under the age of 25, so videos that appeal to children and youth are important. One such video is based on a children’s book by an American author that teaches an important message to kids of what makes them special. A video that appeals to teenagers is Restoration, originally created in a country in East Asia, which uses basketball to tell a story of love.
The media ministry has big plans for the future, including creating parenting videos and developing videos for the Internet and mobile phones, an exploding market in South Asia. By sharing videos that encourage healthy families, provoke meaningful discussions, and show people that they are loved, hope is found even in these difficult times.
-Written by Lisa H. Renninger