New Season of Local Afghan Version of Sesame Street Premieres with Special Emphasis on Resilience

November 20, 2019

Season 7 of Baghch-e-Simsim Will Promote Resilience, Confidence, and Inclusion, Airing on TOLO TV, LEMAR, and Radio Stations Nationwide

(New York, NY and Kabul, Afghanistan – November 20, 2019) – Sesame Workshop is proud to announce the premiere of the 7th season of Baghch-e-Simsim (Sesame Garden), the local Afghan co-production of Sesame Street that has been reaching children and families across Afghanistan through TV, radio, and community engagement since 2011.

The program’s star Muppets, 6-year-old Zari and 4-year-old Zeerak, are back to help each other and Baghch-e-Simsim’s young viewers work out solutions to problems and learn strategies to build confidence in oneself, inclusion of all cultures, genders, and abilities, and resilience in the face of hardship. Together, this sister-brother duo learn how to manage big feelings and gain an appreciation for what everyone has in common. The new season will continue Baghch-e-Simsim’s work to promote gender equity, featuring Zari as a role model for girls and boys alike, including for her younger brother Zeerak.

In one segment, Zari and Zeerak learn a song about “belly breathing,” a resilience-building strategy to help children cope with feelings like anger, sadness, and frustration. In “Making Friends with a New Neighbor,” Zari helps Zeerak understand that the best way to be a good friend, even with someone you just met or who speaks another language, is to be friendly and kind—a language everybody can understand. Throughout the new season, Muppet friends from Sesame Street productions around the world help Zari and Zeerak learn about friendship, empathy, and conflict resolution.

Season 7 features a new opening theme song performed by the children’s choir of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music. Featuring children who represent the diversity of Afghanistan, the new song highlights “what’s new” this season—guest characters from other global co-productions, new letter and number blocks promoting early literacy and numeracy, and a recurring format promoting cross-cultural appreciation.

“The new season of Baghch-e-Simsim will provide children with tools and strategies to become inclusive, confident, and resilient—helping to lay the foundation for success in school and life,” said Danny Labin, Vice President of International Projects at Sesame Workshop, the non-profit behind Sesame Street. “Together with our local partners at the Moby Group, Lapis Communications, and Equal Access, we’re bringing early learning to children across Afghanistan, reaching children who in many cases may not otherwise have access to early education.”

Sesame Workshop is launching Season 7 in conjunction with the annual United Nations Universal Children’s Day on November 20. Earlier today in Kabul, Afghanistan, Baghch-e-Simsim project friends and partners came together to celebrate the role that the program plays in delivering early childhood education to children across Afghanistan. The event featured special appearances from Zari and Zeerak and a performance by the children’s choir from the Afghanistan National Institute of Music.

This season’s activities also include ongoing community engagement events to bring Baghch-e-Simsim to children, families, and teachers throughout the country. Events include rural and urban listening circles, kindergarten listening circles, and community viewings, which allow children to watch episodes and participate in activities to reinforce educational messages.

Starting November 21, Baghch-e-Simsim TV episodes will air on TOLO TV and LEMAR every Thursday and Friday from 3:30 pm to 4:00 pm. The Baghch-e-Simsim TV and radio programs are available in both Dari and Pashto, Afghanistan’s two official languages.

About Sesame Workshop

Sesame Workshop is the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, the pioneering television show that has been reaching and teaching children since 1969. Today, Sesame Workshop is an innovative force for change, with a mission to help kids everywhere grow smarter, stronger, and kinder. We’re present in more than 150 countries, serving vulnerable children through a wide range of media, formal education, and philanthropically-funded social impact programs, each grounded in rigorous research and tailored to the needs and cultures of the communities we serve. For more information, please visit www.sesameworkshop.org.

Press Contacts:

Hallie Ruvin, Sesame Workshop New York
Mustafa Rezazadah, Lapis Communications, Kabul