Meet Zari: ‘Sesame Street’ Introduces Its First Afghan Muppet, 6-Year-Old Zari

Sesame Street, a popular children’s television show, reportedly introduced a new puppet Thursday — a 6-year-old girl named Zari.

One of the things that makes Zari special is that she is a history-making character. According to the Sesame Workshop, Zari is “the first Afghan Muppet” on Sesame Street.

The report described Zari as a “curious and eager six-year-old girl” that is joining the Sesame Street cast of characters during the fifth season of Baghch-e-Simsim, a co-production of the hit show which airs in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Saad Mohseni, the chairman of MOBY Grou, the company that owns the networks on which the co-production airs, opened up about Zari’s addition to the cast in a published press release.

Sesame Street has done more to educate and entertain than any other children’s program in Afghanistan. We are especially delighted about the introduction of Zari to Baghch-e-Simsim, which reflects Sesame’s commitment to the country and the show’s positive impact here.”

Sherrie Westin, the executive vice president of Global Impact and Philanthropy at the Sesame Street, apparently echoed the same positive outlook in her own statement about Zari being featured in the Sesame Street co-production.

“We are thrilled to continue our work with the Moby Group to bring Zari, our first Afghan girl Muppet and powerful role model, to the children of Afghanistan through Baghch-e-Simsim. Debuting a confident, inquisitive, and sweet Afghan girl character is a perfect opportunity to engage both boys and girls with lessons supporting girls’ empowerment and diversity appreciation as we aim to help all children in Afghanistan grow smarter, stronger, and kinder.”

According to the Sesame Workshop, Zari will be featured in a number of different produced segments that focus on a wide range of topics, from physical health and national identity to female empowerment and emotional well-being. Baghch-e-Simsim focuses on a lot of the same core themes that Sesame Street has focused on for decades.

When it comes to showcasing cultures and traditions, the show mainly focuses on what takes place in rural as well as urban life in Afghanistan.

Based on the report, Zari’s role in the Sesame Street co-production is going to allow her to be featured on the show in a number of different ways. Like most popular Sesame Street characters, Zari will break the fourth wall in order to speak directly to the show’s viewers on a regular basis. In addition, she will also interview a variety of Afghan professionals and interact with children directly.

The Sesame Workshop revealed details about three of Zari’s featured segments including “Zari Exercises” which focuses on Zari showing “kids at home how important it is to stay healthy and active” by playing sports or just playing in the park with friends. A segment which focuses more on physical health is “Zari Interviews a Doctor” where Zari learns the basics of what is needed to become a doctor from her very own pediatrician.

There is even a segment titled “Zari Says ‘Salaam'” which allows the new Sesame Street character to teach viewers the meaning of the phrase “asalaam alaikum,” encouraging each of the viewers to use the common greeting “to show they’re happy to see one another.”

[Image Credit: Jason Kempin/Getty Images]