Jan 7, 2020

Sesame Street's Inspiring Girl Role Models

Zari on Baghch-e-Simsim
Zari on Baghch-e-Simsim

Thanks to your support of our campaign, Help Sesame Street Educate Girls Worldwide, we are able to create powerful girl characters who act as inspiring role models.

From clever Chamki on India’s Galli Galli Sim Sim to curious Zari on Afghanistan’s Baghch-e-Simsim, our inspirational characters help girls envision possibilities they may have never imagined, encouraging them to dream big and work hard to achieve their goals.

Learn more about our international coproductions that put gender equity center stage:


Since 2011, children in Afghanistan have found joy and learning through Baghch-e-Simsim, which translates to “Sesame Garden” in both Dari and Pashto, the two languages in which it is broadcast on TV and radio.

The popular show engages children and caregivers alike, and audiences have fallen in love with Zari, the first local Sesame Muppet character, introduced in 2016. A kind and nurturing 6-year-old girl with a sharp mind and a knack for asking questions, Zari loves going to school, sports, and playing games with her friends. Her younger brother Zeerak demonstrates his love for his sister, modeling boys’ respecting girls and advancing Baghch-e-Simsim’s work to promote gender equity

Zari is beloved by boys and girls, who are both vital in the effort to shift societal perceptions of girls and what they’re capable of. Over three million children ages 3-7 are tuning in, and more than 70% of parents and caregivers watch the program alongside children (research has shown that parent engagement with a child during viewing further increases learning outcomes). In a smaller study, children who watched the series regularly demonstrated greater gains in important basic academic skills, gender equity attitudes, and knowledge about emotions than non-viewers.

Galli Galli Sim Sim

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. 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.

Thank you for joining our campaign to Help Sesame Street Educate Girls Worldwide. We look forward to sharing more about the work your support makes possible.

Chamki on Galli Galli Sim Sim
Chamki on Galli Galli Sim Sim
Oct 24, 2019

Our project is fully funded!

After a meeting in Sitapur, India, Sesame Workshop finalized an educational framework—which includes learning objectives and messages for children around water, sanitation, hygiene, health, and gender equity. This framework will drive the implementation, content creation, monitoring, and evaluation of the project. 

We are currently in the process of developing the curriculum for the schools. Teachers in the schools will be trained on the WASH curriculum and deliver 12 weekly sessions to their students. Sesame Workshop is creating new content - including a new teacher manual, two 4-minute films, and a series of print materials for use in the classroom. Students will also be given an activity sheet to take home to engage their parents around the healthy behavior messages they are learning in school. 

The project will launch in schools next month, piloted first in 30 schools and then scaled to 200 schools by next July. 

If you haven’t already, you can become a Sesame Workshop subscriber at https://www.sesameworkshop.org/newsletter so we can share further updates on this and all of our philanthropic work.

Thank you for joining us as we help children everywhere grow smarter, stronger, and kinder.

Sep 6, 2019

Kicking-off our 'Help Sesame Street Teach Critical Health Lessons' project

Last month, Sesame Workshop and our partner World Vision met in Sitapur, India to kick-off our program to teach lifesaving health lessons to children in India—which will reach 400 teachers and 8,000 school children. Together with our research partner and key stakeholders from local government, NGOs, and the education community, we gathered to talk about the challenges and realities of health programming in India and how to create effective messaging and content for educators and children. The workshop, which is a critical component of Sesame Workshop’s model, helps ensure that our new programming is rooted in local context and tailored to meet the needs of both teachers and children.

Together we developed a healthy habits vocabulary and refined our curricular goals for the new program. Over the course of their participation in the program, children will:

  • Know that germs can live in water
  • Be able to distinguish between safe and unsafe water
  • Always wear sandals to the toilet
  • Wash face, hands, and feet properly and at critical times of the day
  • Wash fruits and vegetables before eating them
  • Share what they learn with other children and families
  • Support health and hygiene in their community by modeling healthy behaviors

We also identified what kinds of materials would be most effective to help children learn these new healthy habits, including:

  • A training manual adapted to support teacher training and then help teachers facilitate classroom discussions around health topics
  • A storybook, comic book, and storymat featuring Raya, our Global Health Ambassador Muppet, modeling healthy habits
  • Short live-action videos that will be filmed locally so children can see themselves on screen and relate to what they’re watching, which is an effective way to engage children around new behaviors

What's next?
Over the next few months, Sesame Workshop and World Vision will take the learnings and feedback from this workshop to refine our plans for implementation and begin training teachers on how to use these new classroom materials.

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