“Afghan ‘Sesame Street’ Introduces Zari, a Muppet and Role Model for Girls”

“Sesame Street” has introduced its first Afghan Muppet, and she has a mission. The hope is that the Muppet, called Zari, will become a strong role model for girls in a country with a poor record of promoting women’s rights, according to the production company Sesame Workshop.

Zari has multicolored hair and wears a head scarf with her school uniform. She will appear only in the Afghan version of the children’s television show, called “Baghch-e-Simsim,” which translates to “Sesame Garden.”

Zari, whose name means “shimmering,” is an eager 6-year-old who will focus on girls’ empowerment, health and emotional well-being, the production company said.

The director of communications for Sesame Workshop, Philip Toscano, said the Muppet was based on research aiming to develop a character that would resonate with viewers.

“We’ve been in Afghanistan for five years,” he said. “In our effort to create more content, and relevant content, this was a natural step in production.”

Zari is the latest in the show’s lineup of international characters, which includes Muppets in Mexico, Germany, Bangladesh, Egypt and many other countries.

The debut of the character is notable in Afghanistan, a country that imposes strict limits on women’s lifestyles and rights. There have been efforts to improve conditions for Afghan women since the fall of the Taliban government 14 years ago, but many of the gains are seen as fragile….”

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/12/world/asia/afghan-sesame-street-introduces-zari-a-muppet-and-role-model-for-girls.html?_r=1

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