A band of Muppets, both old favorites and new friends, will star in an Arabic retooling of Sesame Street with a regional twist.
In its Western iterations, the long-running franchise addresses issues including family breakdown. The new Middle East version instead seeks to help children, especially young Syrian refugees, cope with emotions.
New characters will join Cookie Monster (Kaa’ki), Grover (Gargur), Elmo and others in the new show in Arabic, called “Ahlan Simsim!” (Welcome Sesame).
“We always play and sing and try new things and have many adventures,” new puppet Basma, a five-year-old purple girl with a twin twist hairstyle, told AFP on a publicity tour in Dubai.
“We have a lot of friends in the neighborhood, but Jad is my best friend,” she added of her new co-star, a yellow boy with a tuft of canary-colored hair.
Basma, Jad and their gluttonous goat friend Ma’zooza, take to the airwaves six days a week on Middle East satellite channel MBC 3.
The show, which premiered on Feb. 2, is a partnership between the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and Sesame Workshop, which is responsible for the program worldwide.
The aim is to offer “nurturing care to children and caregivers affected by the Syrian conflict”, according to a statement.
Since erupting in 2011, the war has displaced over 5.1 million Syrian children, with 2.5 million of them now living in regional host countries including Lebanon, Turkey, and Jordan.
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