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China Youth Development Foundation, Sesame Workshop, and MSD partner to distribute emergency preparedness content in China

Roll Out of the Second Phase of Educational Media Outreach Initiatives in China

(Shanghai, CHINA, November 1, 2011)—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.

Starting today, 75,000 kits will be distributed to individual families and Hope Primary Schools in 15 provinces that have been either prone to or have recently experienced a natural disaster, and that likely do not have strong access to educational television across China, including: Hebei, Sichuan, Gansu, and Yunnan.

The emergency preparedness outreach initiative kits contains: a DVD with songs and activities to help children learn about getting ready for emergencies with their families (including knowing one’s own full name, knowing one’s parents’ names, and preparing an emergency kit together); a parent/caregiver magazine that involves the family in creating an emergency plan and reaching out to the community; a children’s activity book that invites children to engage in various activities as they learn with characters about how families prepare for emergencies; and a Sesame Street notepad for children who are often without stationery.

Sesame Workshop, CYDF and MSD today visited Long Zi Xin Pre School and Primary School and Shang Po Zi Pre School and Primary School, two of the Hope Schools in Tangshan, Heibei Province. A total of 400 emergency preparedness kits were distributed during the visit. Elmo and Lily, the Muppets from Sesame Street’s Big Bird Looks at the World did an appearance in both schools. Teachers provided very positive feedback, pointing out that such preparedness kits are very crucial to the children in their area and the format of the kits including video and games are easy for children to absorb, practice and remember. Sesame Workshop has worked closely with CYDF teachers to provide guidance and enhance understanding of how to utilize the materials in the classroom.

Tomorrow, the partners and 40 MSD employee volunteers will continue the tour by visiting Xiang’e Primary School in Sichuan Province, one of 15 schools to which MSD donated computer labs after the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, to distribute 200 emergency response kits. Volunteers, trained by Sesame Workshop, will assist in implementing the outreach project by distributing materials and engaging in outreach activities with recipient children.

The first phase of Outreach, launched in April 2011, addressed the aftermath of a crisis or disaster when children’s school time is often disrupted and they may feel a sense of displacement and trauma. In such circumstances, the educational activities provide children of all ages with a sense of stability, safety, and normalcy that may otherwise be lacking from their lives.

Sesame Workshop has a proud history of serving the needs of children globally since 1969, and in China since 1983 when Big Bird and friends first appeared in Big Bird in China, a highly acclaimed hour-long special produced in collaboration with CCTV. In 1998, Sesame Workshop and STV partnered to produce 130 episodes of Zhima Jie, the Chinese version of Sesame Street. In 2010, the 52 eleven-minute episodes of Sesame Street’s Big Bird Looks at the World TV series in Chinese Mandarin made its debut on Ha Ha Channel. The series was broadcast nationally on CCTV Kids Channel during the summer of 2011 and is currently on Toonmax Channel and Jia Jia Cartoon Channel, two regional stations in China.



Beatrice Chow
Sesame Workshop
(212) 875-6586

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