press releases

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

(Shanghai, CHINA, April 19, 2011)—As the first phase of a new outreach initiative to provide emergency response and preparedness education 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 response 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.

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. Working with CYDF and MSD in China, Sesame Workshop will produce and distribute outreach materials in two phases.

Starting today, 1,050 classroom kits (story pond and heart game) and 42,000 individual kits (shape book, 50 activity sheet and care for each other guide) will be distributed to approximately 200 Hope Primary Schools in six provinces across China: Sichuan, Yunnan, Hebei, Gansu, Guangxi and Guizhou.

The kits are designed for group use, as well as for individual children and caregivers. In the aftermath of a crisis or disaster, children’s school time is often disrupted and they may feel a sense of displacement and trauma. In such circumstances, the activities can provide children of all ages with a sense of stability, safety, and normalcy that may otherwise be lacking from their lives. The partners have worked closely with CYDF to evaluate the materials to ensure they are appropriate and effective for Chinese children and their communities.

Sesame Workshop, CYDF and MSD visited Jia Ling Primary School, one of the Hope Schools in an earthquake-stricken area in Sichuan Province today. The team distributed 1,200 emergency response kits to teachers and students. Students were excited about learning through games and activities, while teachers thought the materials would be extremely useful to help teachers and students learn about how to better respond to emergencies.

Tomorrow, the partners and 40 MSD employee volunteers will visit Xiang’e Primary School, one of 15 schools to which MSD donated computer labs after the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, to distribute 100 emergency response kits. The volunteers will engage students and teachers in games and activities during the visit.

For the second phase of the emergency preparedness outreach initiative, the partners will distribute a kit containing: 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; and achildren’s activity book that invites children to engage in various activities as they learn with characters about how families prepare for emergencies.
Seventy-five thousand kits will be distributed to individual families in 15 provinces that have been severely impacted by or are prone to crises including Yunnan, Guizhou, Jiangxi, and Henan. Additionally, these kits will be given to children in the 125 kindergartens in Shanghai that currently have special Sesame Street reading corners and areas where Sesame Street videos and posters are available.

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.

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Contacts

Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, Shanghai

Yolanda Hu
Direct Line: +86 21 24051610
Email: yolanda.hu@ogilvy.com

Jennifer Ding
Direct Line: +86 21 24051701
Email: Jennifer.ding@ogilvy.com

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About Sesame Workshop

Sesame Workshop is a nonprofit educational organization making a meaningful difference in the lives of children worldwide by addressing their critical developmental needs.

The Workshop develops innovative and engaging educational content delivered in a variety of ways — including television, radio, books, magazines, interactive media, and community outreach. Taking advantage of all forms of media and using those that are best suited to delivering a particular curriculum, the Workshop effectively and efficiently reaches millions of children, parents, caregivers, and educators — locally, nationally and globally.

The Workshop is committed to the principle that all children deserve a chance to learn and grow; to be prepared for school; to better understand the world and each other; to reach their highest potential.

Examples of Sesame Workshop Outreach Initiatives Around the World

  • Haiti. Sesame Workshop and Mercy Corps, which helps people turn the crises of natural disaster, poverty and conflict into opportunities for progress, formed a partnership to bring engaging, educational programming to Haiti’s children in the aftermath the earthquake in 2010. Sesame Workshop has dubbed one DVD featuring two Sesame Home Videosinto Creole, and produced three short original films shot in Haiti specific to the country’s post-earthquake challenges. Mercy Corps distributed at least 1,000 DVDs of this programming to schools, orphanages and other child-friendly facilities in the country.
  •  India. With MetLife Foundation, Sesame Workshop made available special broadcast airings of Healthy Habits for Life episodes covering topics such as hygiene, disease prevention, and nutrition; the development of one public service announcement; dedicated healthy habits content (including activities for children and tips for adults) on the Galli Galli Sim Sim website; and a Mobile Community Viewing pilot, accompanied by educational materials, in Jaipur reaching 100,000 children and 33,000 caregivers.
  • Bangladesh. As much of the Bangladeshi population has no access to a television and unreliable access to electricity, significant coordination efforts have been needed in order to deliver Sisimpur to the country’s children. Sesame Workshop teamed up with Save the Children to organize weekly community viewings in Bangladesh’s more remote regions. Rickshaw vans holding a TV, DVD player, and generator delivered Sisimpurepisodes at weekly gatherings. The hour-long viewings were held under a large tree or in a preschool building if the weather was bad. Sixty to 90 children sat on mats waiting for the show’s opening song to begin, clapping and cheering when the opening song started. As the children watched, the facilitators occasionally paused the show to ask them questions and make the viewings an interactive learning experience.
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