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November 30, 2011

By Philip Toscano

Sesame Street Comes to Afghanistan

“It is a fundamental fact that media plays a significant role in education development through educational and public awareness programs. In light of this fact, the Ministry of Education has focused on providing distance educational programs through its Education TV. I believe that Baghche-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.”
-H.E. Farooq Warda, Afghan Minister of Education.

In Afghanistan, the under-five population numbers nearly five million.  Yet only a small percentage of children are served by Kodakistans, the country’s kindergarten system.  Early childhood education is a problem of institutional proportions.

To combat this, we partnered with local television stations Tolo TV and Lemar TV and, in consultation with Afghanistan’s Ministry of Education, created created Baghch-e-Simsim.  A brand new children’s television series, Baghch-e-Simsim features locally produced live action films intertwined with the Muppets from Sesame Street.   Baghch-e-Simsim premieres on December and its the first season contains of 26 half-hour episodes.  The show will be broadcast in both Dari and Pashto languages.

Baghch-e-Simsim, which means “Sesame Garden,” contains 13 locally produced live action films that depict traditions, culture and other aspects of urban and rural life in Afghanistan. These two-to-three minute mini-documentaries feature and celebrate the daily lives of young children from across Afghanistan and introduce one another to the rich diversity of the country’s various provinces.

Additionally, the furry and feathered friends from Sesame Street, like Elmo, Big Bird and Grover, will be on hand 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. Sesame Muppets from co-productions around the world, including Egypt, Bangladesh, Mexico and Russia will also be featured in segments throughout the series.

For a behind the scenes look at Baghch-e-Simsim, click here.

For more information, read the full press release here.

News Coverage:
Afghan children ready to walk down Sesame Street

Reuters

Sesame Street goes to Afghanistan
The Guardian

Sesame Street to be broadcast in Afghanistan
The Telegraph

“Sunny day, sweepin’ the clouds away…” arrives in Afghanistan
MSNBC

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