Introducing Zari, 'Sesame Street's' first Afghan puppet | Inquirer Entertainment

Introducing Zari, ‘Sesame Street’s’ first Afghan puppet

06:37 PM April 08, 2016

Afghanistan, a war-stricken country, will have to greet ‘Salam’ to its very own ‘Sesame Street’ puppet – in a form and image of a 6-year-old girl named Zari.

Zari, whose name means ‘shimmering’ in Pashto language, will debut in the fifth season of the country’s localized version of Sesame Street ‘Baghch-e-Simsim’ (Sesame Garden). She is characterized as a ‘very curious and eager’ girl.

The female puppet will star in segments that locus emphasis on women empowerment, physical health, national identity, and self-esteem.


The producers of the children’s show also partnered with the Afghan Ministry of Education to protect the puppets’ cultural and religious image against staunch maligners.


Zari will interact with children viewers and interview Afghan professionals and women empowerment advocates. The puppet will host three short segments: Zari Exercises, where she will perform basic exercises to encourage children to ‘stay fit and healthy’, Zari Says ‘Salam’, where she will narrate the real essence of the Muslim greeting, and Zari Interviews a Doctor, where the puppet will conduct a one-on-one question and answer portion with a physician on how to be a doctor someday.

Outside her brief skits, Zari will co-host with Elmo, one of the original puppets in the American version.

The purple-faced puppet will either wear casual or traditional Muslim clothes. She follows localized puppets like Chamki in India, Khokha in Egypt, and HIV-positive Kami in South Africa who play fundamental roles in Sesame Street productions in their nations.

There are five million Afghan children under 5 years old, yet only 66 percent of them are studying in schools. Gianna Francesca Catolico,

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TAGS: Afghanistan, Entertainment, puppet, Sesame Street, Television

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