Sesame Street to launch Arabic-language show for refugee children to help them deal with trauma


Basma, a nearly six-year-old purple Muppet with pigtails, loves to dance. She can’t always find the words to express herself properly, and so reverts to the Arabic idiom, “Yella!” (let’s go), when she wants to set off on a new adventure.

In February next year Basma will be joined by Jad, who’s new to the Ahlan Simsim (Welcome Sesame) neighbourhood.

He’s a bright yellow colour, and expresses himself through visual arts, painting in mid-air using his grandfather’s paintbrush that he brought with him from where he used to live.   

Basma and Jad, along with Ma’zooza the baby goat, are two of the main characters for Ahlan Simsim, a new Arabic-language show from the creators of Sesame Street targeted at refugee children across the Middle East.

They’ll be joined by some of the classic children’s shows colourful mainstays such as Elmo, Gover and the Cookie Monster.  

Producers hope the show will help the millions of children displaced across the region deal with the traumas they face. 

“We know how important it is for children to see their own lives and experiences reflected on-screen,” executive producer Scott Cameron said in a statement earlier this week.  

From the show, too, they can ““learn all about big feelings and how to manage them through coping strategies like counting to five and belly breathing,” he added.

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