December 1st, 2011
12:37 PM ET
Big Bird and Elmo are headed to the Middle East!
An Afghan version of “Sesame Street” will debut on Thursday, according to a press release from the U.S. Government and Sesame Workshop, the organization behind “Sesame Street.”
Non-profit educational organization Sesame Workshop has partnered with Afghan television stations TOLO TV and LEMAR TV to produce new children’s series “Baghch-e-Simsim.”
The show will pair “Sesame Street” characters with locally-produced live action films to "encourage children in core-competencies like literacy, math, school readiness, and life skills with a special emphasis on girls’ education, diversity, and cultural awareness,” according to the press release.
“Sesame Workshop is thrilled to work with TOLO and LEMAR television to create a series locally that not only seeks to educate and prepare children for a lifetime of learning, but also provides a unique vision into Afghan culture that children can identify with and learn from,” said H. Melvin Ming, Sesame Workshop's president and CEO.
The episodes will showcase the daily lives of children in a variety of locations throughout Afghanistan. And 13 mini-documentaries will enhance the 26 half-hour episodes with depictions of culture and traditions across the country. “Baghch-e-Simsim” will be broadcast in both Dari and Pashto languages, and is produced in consultation with Afghanistan’s Ministry of Education.
"It is a fundamental fact that media plays a significant role in education development through educational and public awareness programs ... I believe that the 'Baghch-e-Simsim' program that depict traditions, culture, and other aspects of Afghan rural and urban life are profoundly useful for the cognitive development of our children and transforming our society towards, social welfare, economic growth, and durable peace,” stated Deputy Afghan Minister of Education Patman.
Officials are excited about the positive chances “Sesame Street” can bring to country.
“Teachers here in Afghanistan will discover that Sesame Street can help children start school well prepared,” stated U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker. “Perhaps most importantly, it shows children the world around them.”
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