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November 30, 2011

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Sesame Street Comes to Afghanistan

By Philip Toscano


“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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November 01, 2011

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Emergency Preparedness Kits Distributed in 15 Provinces in China Free of Charge

By Beatrice Chow


Following the first phase of the educational media outreach initiative to provide emergency response  resources for children and their families in China, Sesame Workshop, together with the China Youth Development Foundation (CYDF) and MSD announced today that they will begin distributing emergency preparedness content. Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street; CYDF, best known for launching the “Project Hope” program to help provide underprivileged children with access to education throughout China; and MSD, a global healthcare leader, launched the outreach initiative in December 2010 and the first phase distribution in April, 2011.

Sesame Workshop is committed to working with educators to create dynamic content in order to provide Chinese children with the cognitive and social skills needed to reach their highest potentials. One component of the project is to provide tools to address the needs of children in the aftermath of natural disasters and to support the development of Hope Primary Schools in poverty-stricken rural areas.

The second phase of Outreach addresses emergency preparedness. With news and learning resources dedicated to help children and their families recover from disasters, there are limited resources and instructions to help get families prepared for emergencies before they occur. To address the importance of emergency preparedness, the partners worked closely with CYDF to evaluate the materials to ensure the contents are appropriate and effective for Chinese children and their communities.

Currently, 75,000 kits have been distributed across 15 provinces in China that have been either prone or recently experienced a natural disaster. This kits include educational DVDs, which help children learn how to deal with natural disasters in an engaging way, a parent/caregiver magazine that teaches families how to develop an emergency plan and a children’s activity book which extends their knowledge with fun and useful exercises. The goal of these kits is to prepare families for the event of a natural disaster so that they can be ready to deal with whatever may come.

For more information, read the full press release here.

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