A New Sesame Street character is promoting girls' rights in Afghanistan

Narjas Zatat@Narjas_Zatat
Sunday 10 April 2016 13:00
news

Sesame Street has a new addition to its international Muppet team - a six-year-old girl called Zari, who is from Afghanistan, Reuters reports.

Zari will make her debut next week on Baghch-e-Simsim, the Afghan co-production of Sesame Street.

Not only is she the first female Muppet to air for Afghan children, her role is designed to show Afghan girls who may not have access to education in the unstable country that school is a place they should be welcomed.

Zari's focus will be on well-being, and she will be interviewing doctors and other professionals about their work, and what young people need to do to achieve those career goals.

She will have a variety of different images, ranging from casually clothed to being veiled, depending on the circumstance.

Up until the 1970s women in Afghanistan had easy access to a university education - but the Soviet occupation in 1978 and the subsequent rise of the Taliban chipped away female agency in political and public life.

Women are increasingly gaining access to education again through collaborative efforts by NGOs like UNAIS and the government, but they continue to be at a disadvantage.

According to a 2013 report, out of 101,000 students enrolled in university in 2012, fewer than 20,000 of them were women.

The Afghan Education Ministry cooperated with Sesame Workshop to ensure a smooth transition for Zari, and to minimise any potential opposition to her ideas.

Sherrie Westin, Sesame Workshop’s executive vice president of global impact and philanthropy, told Reuters:

The exciting part about Zari is that she is modelling for young girls that it is wonderful to go to school and that it’s ok to dream about having a career.

Images: via Reuters

More: Meet the artist trying to heal Afghanistan, one mural at a time

More: This little Afghani boy who wore a plastic bag shirt will get to meet his idol Messi

Trending