Sesame Street, the popular US children’s television series, introduces two new muppets that will help deliver entertaining, early-years education for Rohingya children at the Kutupalong refugee camp in Bangladesh’s Cox Bazar, the largest refugee camp in the world.
The six-year-old twins, Noor and Aziz will feature in a series of Rohingya-language educational videos for families living in the camp. Along with more familiar Sesame Street characters like Elmo, the twins will cover topics like math and science, including issues around social and emotional well-being.
“These two are very special Sesame Muppets – for most Rohingya children, Noor and Aziz will be the first characters in media who look and sound like them,” says Sherrie Westin of the show’s non-profit, Sesame Workshop.
“Rooted in the rich Rohingya culture and informed by extensive research and input from Rohingya families, Noor and Aziz will bring the transformative power of playful learning to families at a time when it’s needed more than ever before,” she added.
A mostly Muslim minority group, the Rohingyas have been described as one of the world’s most prosecuted communities. There are more than 800,000 Rohingya Muslims living in Cox’s Bazar who escaped a brutal army crackdown. Half of those in the camp are children, BBC reported.
Since 2016, there have been reports of mass violence by Myanmar’s military in the country’s western Rakhine state, specifically targeting Rohingyan Muslims. Despite human rights groups that have condemned and accused Myanmar of genocidal acts, the country’s government has denied such accusations, with claims that it is necessary and part of a legitimate counterterrorism measure.
The new muppets are part of Sesame Street Workshop’s Play to Learn humanitarian programme in partnership with the Bangladesh-based BRAC Institute of Educational Development, the LEGO Foundation and New York University’s Global TIES for Children.