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Sesame Street to debut in Afghanistan On Tolo TV and Lemar TV

Local Co-production, Baghch-e-Simsim, to Feature Live Action Films and Segments with World-Beloved Elmo, Grover and the Sesame Friends

(New York, NY and Kabul, Afghanistan, November 30, 2011) — Sesame Workshop, the non-profit educational organization behind Sesame Street, in partnership with TOLO TV and LEMAR TV stations, have produced Baghch-e-Simsim, a brand new children’s television series featuring locally produced live action films and the Muppets fromSesame Street, to engage and help educate the young children of Afghanistan. While the under-five population of Afghanistan numbers nearly five million, only a small percentage of children are served by Kodakistans (the country’s kindergarten system).  Designed to meet this need for early education, the 26 half-hour series of Baghch-e-Simsim, produced in consultation with Afghanistan’s Ministry of Education, will be broadcast in both Dari and Pashto languages and premieres December 1, 2011. Baghch-e-Simsim will be broadcast on TOLO TV every Thursday through Sunday at 4PM as well as on LEMAR TV every Thursday and Friday at 5PM and Saturdays and Sundays at 3:30PM.

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. Examples of the live action films include:

  • First Day of School – Six- year-old Zynab is getting ready for her first day of school, and she’s a little nervous.  Her mom and dad reassure her that everything will go well.  In class she does exercises, answers her teacher’s questions, and makes new friends while at recess she plays hide and seek.  She has a lot of fun and can’t wait to return to school.
  • Professions: Engineer – Seven- year-old Deedah meets with her Aunt Samira, who is a civil engineer.  Samira takes Deedah to one of her construction sites, where she wears a hard hat, and watches her Aunt look at blue prints with other engineers.  Samira tells Deedah that if she wants to be an engineer too, she needs to study hard and learn her math.

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.

“Millions of American children and children around the world have enjoyed growing up watching and learning from this show. The United States is proud to have partnered with the Afghan Ministry of Education and members of the Afghan media to help bring this educational programming to Afghanistan,” stated U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker.

“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,” stated Afghan Minister of Education H.E. Farooq Wardak.

“Sesame Workshop is proud to work with TOLO and LEMAR television to create a series locally that not only seeks to educate and prepare children for a lifetime of learning, but also provides a unique vision into Afghan culture that children can identify with and learn from,” says H. Melvin Ming, CEO and President, Sesame Workshop. “With less than two-thirds of Afghanistan’s children enrolled in primary school, Baghch-e-Simsim is a crucial step forward for children’s education countrywide.”

“The collaboration between Sesame Workshop and Kaboora will open up the avenues of early learning in Afghanistan, just as Sesame Street has done globally for over 42 years.  They are leaders in the field of early childhood development and TOLO TV and LEMAR TV are the two most potent media for reaching the children of Afghanistan.  We are truly excited to have adopted their early learning expertise and imagination in to a program that will resonate with the young kids and families of the region,” added Saad Mohseni, Chairman of MOBY Group, which owns and operates TOLO TV, LEMAR TV and Kaboora Production.

Baghch-e-Simsim is made possible through the support of the U.S. Department of State.

For a behind the scenes look at the making of Baghch-e-Simsim visit:

Philip Toscano
Sesame Workshop

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