Sesame Street – the beloved show featuring the Muppets Big Bird, Cookie Monster, and Bert and Ernie – Ahlan Simsim has landed in Syria. The pioneering show, has been teaching children around the world about wide-ranging topics like inclusivity, grief, and the alphabet since 1969. In Syria, more than 11 million people have been displaced since the conflict started in 2011, making it the largest displaced population in the world.
Launched with the International Rescue Committee along with educators in Syria, Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon, this new form of humanitarian aid aims to help children deal with trauma. The show teaches kids terms to help express emotions – frustration, anxiety, anger, fear – with support and lessons extended with thousands of outreach workers. The hope is to reach some nine million children and ultimately see the birth of a new model of humanitarian aid for refugee children everywhere. Ultimately it aims to benefit all children across the MENA region with socio-emotional skills needed to succeed in life, not just those affected by displacement.
Ahlan Simsim airs in Arabic and Kurdish, following the adventures of best friends Basma and Jad and their goat sidekick Ma’zooza. Full episodes are now available on Youtube.
Originally published in the April 2020 issue of Vogue Arabia