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November 26, 2013

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On Location: Promoting Healthy Habits in Papua, Indonesia

By Key Mangunsong


Key Mangunsong is the Production Head of Jalan Sesama Indonesia. She is also the director of Jalan Sesama studio and live action film segments segments.

Papua is the largest province in Indonesia located to the eastern side of the archipelago. Although this island is blessed with various mineral resources, it has the highest rate of poverty in Indonesia with the lowest income per capita for health and education.

With support dfrom Sesame Workshop and the Open Society Foundation, the Jalan Sesama team held an outreach program for promoting healthy living habits to local children and families located in the highlands of Papua. Promotional items created for supporting the program include DVDs and print media, such as posters and playing cards.  Read More

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July 30, 2013

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Arigato Big Bird: Sesame Street in Japan

By Tomoko Nagano


Tomoko Nagano is Senior Editor, International Book Publishing at Sesame Workshop. She was also previously an editor with Sesame Street Magazine. 

Achieving “Big in Japan” status is an honor for select cultural icons. Sesame Street is one of them. Japanese audiences of all ages have embraced the characters for generations, so the brand is familiar to young and old, just as it is in the United States. It is also well-known because of longstanding English language learning materials, and the broadcast itself is an unintentional and unconventional way many in Japan learn English. Today, Sesame Street fans are fashionable young adults who grew up watching as children. Aiming at this audience, Japanese publisher Takarajima launched its second Sesame Street Mook (the name is a combination of “magazine” and “book”) title on July 19, 2013.  Read More

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From the Street to the ‘Galli’: A Story from Sesame Workshop India

By Sara Lederman


Sara Lederman works in the International Projects group on the Workshop’s initiatives in Israel and India. She began at Sesame 3 years ago as an intern while she was a student at Barnard College. Sara will spend next year conducting research in India on a Fulbright Scholarship.

The American Street overflows with giggling faces, neighbors congregating on city stoops, and friends playing jump rope. Sunny days and furry faces fill the Street, the symbolic artery through which so much history and learning flows.

The Indian Galli (alleyway) explodes with color and pulses with a rhythmic drumbeats. A caravan of diverse faces cheers as it zooms past smiling pink and blue storefronts and a technicolor lion kicking a soccer ball. The Galli is a familiar scene, a fantastical heaven tucked away in the dense city.

Both of these streets tell stories – stories of childhood, stories of community, and stories of culture. As an intern at Sesame Workshop and an anthropology student, I wanted to explore these stories in my senior thesis.

After working at Sesame Workshop in Global Education, Research & Outreach as an intern for a year and with the encouragement of a wise mentor, I decided to apply for funding to support a summer of original ethnographic research in India. Much to my mother’s chagrin, I traded in my ninth summer at camp in Wisconsin to explore the life of Muppets on the other side of the world.

When my rickshaw rolled up to the door of Sesame Workshop India in New Delhi, it hit me: I was experiencing, firsthand, what so many people back in the New York office described as “the longest street in the world.” Sesame Workshop India, the only wholly-owned subsidiary of Sesame Workshop in the world, is a lean machine comprised of a bold, fast, sharp team. Not only does this thirty-odd person office drive the production of Galli Galli Sim Sim (the Indian co-production of Sesame Street) radio and television shows that reach over 90% of television-owning families, but they also collaborate with national early childhood education experts to organize policy-oriented advocacy. They also just recently launched a franchise of after-schools and pre-schools called Sesame Schoolhouse, the first of their kind. And if that isn’t enough, this tiny team makes serious dents in school readiness and hygiene educational needs in India, a country where, if all the children broke off and made their own country, they would be the third largest in the world.

After a few days in the office and with the help of the supportive Sesame Workshop India team, I quickly identified a feasible research plan. In 2011 Sesame Workshop India was developing a Healthy Habits radio program intended to be distributed to a number of community radio stations. This particular series was designed in installments in a way that allowed flexibility for local adaptations. When I was in Delhi they were just beginning to roll out this initiative in a sizable migrant labor community on the periphery of Gurgaon, a major satellite city of Delhi. The community radio station, Gurgaon Ki Awaaz, took the material and tailored it to the needs of its audience, playing folk music from Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh –many of the migrant laborers’ home states – and addressing issues that were specific to the community’s needs. And, taking full advantage of radio as a flexible and communicative medium, the community radio station engaged callers in conversation surrounding education, water, employment, and safety.

As I conducted interviews with mothers, kids, teachers, and radio producers it became clear to me: everyone wants to consume high-quality media that speaks to them and, perhaps even more importantly, everyone wants to speak. The Sesame material served as an inspiration for the The Galli Galli Sim Sim community radio program, which provided a safe, educational and accessible space for some of the most marginalized families in the world.

That’s a Street of which I am proud to be a part.

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April 29, 2013

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Translating a Sneeze

By Kurt Swenson


Kurt Swenson is an associate producer for Sesame Workshop’s international co-productions.

Permit me to introduce you to a couple of our Irish friends. The big purple one you see on the left in the picture above is Potto Monster. He’s a jovial, caring, slightly neurotic inventor. The redhead with the big ears on the right is Hilda the Hare. She’s a rambunctious and energetic Irish Hare. And they’re the best friends who populate Sesame Tree, our adaptation of Sesame Street, produced for the children of Northern Ireland. Read More

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September 25, 2012

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Sesame Joins U.N. Secretary General’s Every Woman Every Child Movement

By Graydon Gordian


U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Sesame Workshop CEO Melvin H. Ming and Takalani Sesame's Kami

Throughout Latin America, Africa and Asia there are numerous health risks that threaten women and children. Diarrhea, pneumonia, malnutrition and obesity extend across borders and impact millions. That’s why we are reaffirming and deepening our commitment to the United Nation Secretary General’s Every Woman Every Child movement. The movement aims to mobilize and intensify global efforts to improve the health of women and children around the world.

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