Sesame Street is being remade in Arabic for conflict kids
Sesame Street is officially coming to the Middle East. A new version of the show – totally in Arabic – seeks to help children, especially young Syrian refugees, cope with the rigours of war.
The show will pair old favourite muppets with new ones, including Cookie Monster (Kaa’ki), Grover *Gargur) and Elmo – as well as new characters. The show is called
“Ahlan Simsim!” (Welcome Sesame!)
"We always play and sing and try new things and have many adventures," said new puppet Basma, currently on a press tour in Dubai.
"We have a lot of friends in the neighbourhood, but Jad is my best friend," she said speaking about her new co-star puppet.
Basma, Jad and Ma’zooza will be on MBC 3 from Sunday, February 2. The show will air six days a week.
The programme is part of a partnership between the International Rescue Committee and Sesame Workshop – the parent company that is responsible for the show worldwide.
The idea is to offer "nurturing care to children and caregivers affected by the Syrian conflict” it said in a statement.
Since starting in 2011, the war in Syria has displaced more than 5 million young children. Over half that number are now seeking refuge in countries such as Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan.
Grover, meanwhile, is part of the show interviewing children from across the Arab world.
"We are all different from each other," Grover said.
"Some of us like to sing and some of us like to dance and some like to exercise," added the gangly blue character, beloved of children and grownups since his 1970 "Sesame Street" debut.
"But I discovered we are all alike because we love each other."
The new show is produced in Jordan and is the result of two-years worth of collaboration with a number of child development specialists and the showrunners.