The global refugee crisis due to conflicts has sparked a new partnership between Sesame Workshop, creator of ‘Sesame Street’ and International Rescue Committee (IRC), a refugee assistance organisation.
Approaches to providing services to refugee populations are changing because of the average length of displacement approaching 20 years. According to CBS News on Sunday, iconic children’s broadcaster Sesame Workshop and IRC have teamed up to create “Ahlan Simsim”, or “Welcome Sesame”, with refugee children in mind. It will teach Arabic-speaking children around the world to cope with some of the traumas associated with extended displacement. The show is one product of a staggering $100 million grant from the MacArthur Foundation, CBS News stated.
The muppets of “Ahlan Simsim” will teach children coping strategies to children when they feel a strong emotion, such as belly breathing. These tactics will be displayed by the three new muppets created specifically for the show – Basma, Jad and their humorous sidekick baby goat, Ma’zooza. Experts hope that when children utilise practices such as belly breathing in real life, they will help quell fears, make painful moments more tolerable and feel relaxed.
The show will air in 20 countries in the Middle East, North Africa and the Gulf starting in February.