The show will focus on recognizing emotions, especially those related to trauma and conflict, and how to cope with them.
Rabat – The American children’s television show Sesame Street began airing an Arabic-language show called “Ahlan Simsim” (Welcome Sesame) in the Middle East on Sunday to teach children how to deal with their emotions.
Old favorite characters of the American educational series take on new names in Ahlan Simsim: the Cookie Monster is Ka’aki and Grover is Gargur.
The show also introduces new characters: Basma, a purple muppet, and her friend Jad, a yellow muppet who had to leave his home and move into Basma’s neighborhood.
In the last week, 6,500 Syrian children were forced to flee their homes each day, UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said on Saturday, February 1.
The show will focus on recognizing emotions and what to do with them. “We have the emotional ‘ABCs’ and at the same time we present coping mechanisms to deal with these emotions,” executive producer Khaled Haddad said.
In a press release, the president of Social Impact and Philanthropy at the show’s parent non-profit company Sesame Workshop, Sherrie Westin, said, “The thing that became very apparent in our work on the ground is how critical the need was for the children of this region and children who have been affected by traumatic events to have the social and emotional skills they need.”
Jordan, where over 10% of the population are Syrian refugees, is the site of Ahlan Simsim’s production. AFP reports that the new show has been in the works for two years and came out of collaboration between the International Rescue Committee and Sesame Workshop.
Ahlan Simsim received $100 million in funding from the American John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and another $100 million from the LEGO Foundation to enhance the television series’ “play-based learning,” the Middle East Monitor reports.