Sesame Street Debuts First Afghan Muppet, Six-Year-Old Girl Zari

Sesame Workshop, April 7, 2016

Sesame Workshop unveiled today its first Afghan Muppet, Zari, a curious and eager six year-old girl, who will make her debut in season five of Baghch-e-Simsim—the local co-production of Sesame Street.   Zari, whose name means “shimmering,” will be featured in new, locally produced segments that focus on curriculum topics like girls’ empowerment, national identity, physical health, and social and emotional wellbeing. Season five of Baghch-e-Simsim can be seen on TOLO TV on Thursday and Friday at 4:00pm and LEMAR TV on Thursday and Friday at 4.30pm.

For a behind-the-scenes look at Zari in action and what it takes to make a Muppet, click here:

Sesame Street has done more to educate and entertain than any other children’s program in Afghanistan,” said Saad Mohseni, Chairman of MOBY GROUP.  “We are especially delighted about the introduction of Zari to Baghch-e-Simsim, which reflects Sesame’s commitment to the country and the show’s positive impact here.”   MOBY GROUP owns and operates TOLO TV, LEMAR TV and Kaboora Production.

Baghch-e-Simsim (Sesame Garden) has the highest awareness among children’s television shows in Afghanistan, at 86 percent, and is cited as children’s favorite program by far, as reported by primary caregivers. The 26 new 25-minute episodes will still feature locally produced, live action films about traditions, culture, and other aspects of urban and rural life in Afghanistan.  Segments from other Sesame co-productions, adapted and dubbed into Dari and Pashto, will continue to introduce children to Muppet friends from series in Egypt, Bangladesh, Mexico, and Russia.

Zari will be featured in three formats: speaking directly to viewers, interacting with children in person, and interviewing a variety of Afghan professionals. Segments include:

  • Zari Exercises – Starting with a stretch her mother taught her, Zari shows kids at home how important it is to stay healthy and active. You can play sports like volleyball and cricket, or even just play in the park with your friends!
  • Zari Says “Salaam” – Zari explains the meaning of the greeting “asalaam alaikum” and encourages her friends to use it to show they are happy to see one another.
  • Zari Interviews a Doctor – During her check-up, Zari talks to her pediatrician, Dr. Khadija, and learns what it takes to become a doctor–and what her own heart sounds like!

“We are thrilled to continue our work with the Moby Group to bring Zari, our first Afghan girl Muppet and powerful role model, to the children of Afghanistan through Baghch-e-Simsim,” said Sherrie Westin, Executive Vice President of Global Impact and Philanthropy, Sesame Workshop. “Debuting a confident, inquisitive, and sweet Afghan girl character is a perfect opportunity to engage both boys and girls with lessons supporting girls’ empowerment and diversity appreciation as we aim to help all children in Afghanistan grow smarter, stronger, and kinder.”

New radio episodes of Baghch-e-Simsim will also debut later this month in all 34 Afghanistan provinces on national FM station Radio NAWA as well as 38 local and regional stations.

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