Central Asia, the Middle East and North Africa
by Miia da Silva, TWR Women of Hope regional coordinator for Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East and North Africa
The Kurdish people are one of the largest ethnic groups in the world who don’t have their own state. Globally, there are 30 million to 40 million Kurds, most of whom live in Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria. Those are also the countries that are part of an area referred to as Kurdistan. The area hosts a Kurdish majority population and could be considered the historical home of the Kurds’ national identity and of their cultural and linguistic development.
The Kurdish people have more than one language. The most widely spoken Kurdish languages, or dialects, are Kurmanji and Sorani. Kurmanji is written in Latin script and spoken mostly in southeastern Turkey, northern Syria, northern Iraq, northwest Iran and northeast Iran. Sorani is spoken most in Iraq and written in the Arabic script. Years ago, Women of Hope programs were translated and produced in Sorani. Today, those programs are being broadcast into the northern part of Iraq, and we hope and pray that the ministry can be developed further in coming years.
When it comes to reaching Kurmanji-speaking women, a lot is happening! In July 2022, our first broadcast in the Kurmanji language went on the air in southeast Turkey. It is the first time that women in that region could hear the message of the gospel in their heart language on local FM radio. A new program with the aim of reaching women from different life situations is broadcast twice a week. It airs once during weekdays with the hope that mothers can tune in and another time over the weekend to reach working women, too.
In addition to media, this ministry is fulfilling another important part of the TWR Women of Hope mission – small-group activities. Our local leader is gathering with women for fellowship, prayer and discussion of various relevant topics. Some of the topics are challenging and even considered taboo to discuss. Yet it is important to shine the light of Christ into women’s lives, even when the matters are difficult.
Many Kurdish women are living in challenging circumstances. They need our prayers and to hear about the hope they can have in Jesus. Please join us in prayer for Kurdish women and for our brave TWR Women of Hope team who are working hard to create heart-changing media and are walking with Kurdish women through their joys and challenges.