January 24, 2013

By Graydon Gordian

Afghan Version of Sesame Street Sparks Children’s Imagination

Afghan children in Herat province listen to Baghch-e-Simsim with their mothers.

While Sesame Workshop is best known for the educational television programs we produce both in the United States and around the world, we believe many forms of technology, both old and new, can be an effective way of bringing learning and laughter to children. That’s why an accompanying radio production has been a big part of the success of Baghch-e-Simsim, the Afghan version of Sesame Street. In Afghanistan many households don’t have television; the radio broadcast allows us to ensure that lessons about literacy, numeracy and cultural understanding reach as many children in the country as possible.

In the United States, when we mention iconic Sesame Street Muppets like Cookie Monster, Bert and Ernie, images of the characters immediately come to mind. But for the children whose only contact with the characters is the Baghch-e-Simsim radio program, they have to imagine what the characters look like. Periodically, around special events like festivals or the New Year, Afghan children send in drawings of Baghch-e-Simsim to the radio stations it airs on and we get a chance to see how their imaginations have brought the show to life. Equal Access, Sesame Workshop’s Afghanistan based radio production partner of Baghch-e-Simsim, sent us some of the children’s drawings they had received, and we wanted to share them with you.

A drawing by Noorina Atta Zada in Kabul province.

A drawing sent in by Jalal ud din in Nangarhar province

Drawings by Nazifa and Shafiq, children in the Nanagar province of Afghanistan.

A drawing of the classic Sesame Street characters by Muhammad Imran, a child in Kapisa, Afghanistan.

A drawing by Kamran and Umer, two children from Nangarhar province.

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