There are 164 million children under the age of 6 in India [footnote:Census 2011], yet half have no access to preschool or childcare centers [footnote: UNESCO Institute of Statistics 2014]. Galli Galli Sim Sim, the locally produced version of Sesame Street, has brought quality early education to India since 2006. Broadcast in Hindi and several other Indian languages on television and radio, Galli Galli Sim Sim features a diverse cast, vibrant set, and music and stories that reflect the country’s many cultures and traditions. Lovable characters like Chamki, a curious five-year old girl with a flair for language and solving mysteries, her best friend Elmo, and a big blue monster named Googly bring lessons of literacy, numeracy, and physical and socio-emotional wellbeing to millions of children and caregivers across the country.
In an effort to reach and teach all Indian children, especially those without access to formal preschool education, Galli Galli Sim Sim brings high quality educational content wherever children learn. Using a repurposed vegetable cart equipped with a television and DVD player, local teachers make the show a regular presence in urban slums, engaging children of all ages in narrow alleys with a special screening and educational games.
Gender Equity is a central focus of Galli Galli Sim Sim. In a country where 40% of girls don’t go to secondary school, Chamki sets a powerful example. She loves wearing her school uniform, going to class each day, and learning new things. A bright and energetic role model, Chamki inspires young girls to pursue education and helps them see possibilities for themselves they may never have imagined.
Multiple studies show that Galli Galli Sim Sim reaches children across cultures in every demographic group, and that preschoolers who watch do significantly better than those who don’t on a range of developmental outcomes. For example children who encountered our content through our radiophone project showed more than 2x improvement in literacy and language and socio-emotional skills. Children in first grade classrooms who used Galli Galli Play ‘n’ Learn content showed 3x improvement in word knowledge and imagination.