Refugee children often lack access to so many of the things we take for granted and one of those things is quality education. But while that's an incredibly large issue, the company behind Sesame Street aims to take a step to address it by rolling out an Arabic-language educational program. The show has begun production in Jordan, a country that houses many Syrian refugees.
But that's not the only initiative Sesame Workshop, which is the company that created Sesame Street, will enact for this cause. The company, in conjunction with International Rescue Committee, will also use a $100 million grant to provide in-person educational services for refugee children, and work to make sure the new Arabic show is available for children in refugee camps. The team plans to use this grant to carry them through for five years, and hope to expand to other countries as well.
Sesame Street and the IRC Team Up for Refugee Children www.youtube.com
The show will feature a character named Basma who befriends a new neighbor, Jad, who seems to be a refugee. In one episode, Jad explains that he doesn't have his favorite toy with him because he left it in his old home.
Instead of teaching viewers letters or numbers, the new show's focus will be on providing them with emotional lessons. "We want every episode to identify an emotion, but then give really concrete actions so children can learn what to do," Sesame Street producer Scott Cameron tells 60 Minutes. Themes of fear, anger, loneliness, sadness, and determination will play major roles in the programming.
This is so important—while all kids deserve educational programming, the focus on dealing with tough, complex issues is key here. We love this initiative and hope it gives refugee children the educational and emotional tools they so richly deserve.