The Bangladeshi co-production of Sesame Street, Sisimpur is beloved and trusted among Bangladeshi children and parents alike. In a country where only about a third of preschool-aged children attend a formal education program, Sisimpur delivers critical early education through television, in classrooms, and with community outreach. Set in a vibrant and colorful neighborhood, the series, which launched in 2005, features locally beloved characters like Halum the Bengal tiger; a small blue monster called Ikri Mikri; Shiku, a curious and inventive jackal; and Tuktuki, a vivacious young girl. Original music and locally produced live-action and animated segments reflect the rich artistic heritage of Bangladeshi culture.
Sisimpur is designed to meet the learning needs of children ages 3-8 across social classes and different regions of the country. It emphasizes literacy and language, math and science, and socio-emotional skills like mutual respect and understanding, as well as delivering lessons on health and hygiene, disaster preparedness, financial empowerment, and childhood injury and accident prevention. Beyond the nationally beloved television program, Sisimpur uses innovative means to engage children within their own communities, including providing content and training to childcare centers and bringing Sisimpur to remote areas with mobile screenings on vans and rickshaws.
Tuktuki is a central part of the cast. An insatiably inquisitive young Sisumpur Muppet Tuktuki loves school and is passionate about reading and her favorite sport, cricket. A powerful role model, she demonstrates the potential for girls to excel—an important lesson in a country where literacy rates are rising, yet 30% of women over the age of 15 still lack basic literacy skills.
Sesame Workshop Bangladesh is exploring digital platforms to expand Sisimpur’s reach to the millions of Bangladeshi children who don’t have access to TV. In the meantime, Research findings have been strongly positive. A BBC World Trust study in 2010 showed that Sisimpur was by far the most-watched children’s program on BTV, with 86% of child viewers tuning in. And a large-scale longitudinal study revealed that children who had regular exposure to Sisimpur demonstrated literacy, math, and socio-cultural skills equivalent to children a year older. (footnote: ACPR, 2007)