Why We Like Zari, Sesame Street Afghanistan’s Newest Muppet

Zari is the newest member of the Afghan version of Sesame Street (Baghch-E-Simsim), and she comes with a purpose.

For one, she depicts what is typically not associated with the image of a traditional Afgan female. With her head scarf, six year old Zari visibly retains her culture and heritage, but also rocks multi-colored hair.

What we also like about her is that she will be featured in new, locally produced segments that focus on girls’ empowerment, national identity, physical health, as well as social and emotional well-being. According to Sesame Workshop, Zari represents a character who will be interacting with other young children and Afghan professionals while engaging them in discussions on important matters, in a country that places restrictions on women’s lifestyles and rights.

Through Baghch-e-Simsim, Zari will be the first Afghan girl Muppet and a powerful role model to the Afghan children, Sherrie Westin, the executive vice president of global impact and philanthropy for Sesame Workshop said in a press release.

Baghch-e-Simsim currently has the highest awareness among children’s television shows in Afghanistan, at 86 percent, and reportedly remains the favorite television program among children. The show provides an opportunity to inform positive attitudes and behaviors of young children at an early age, well before negative behaviors are initiated and established.

Zari will make her debut in season five of the program on April 7 and will be featured in each of the twenty-six episodes.

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