The rights of girls and women around the world is a theme that is very close to my heart; I picked up interest on this from a very young age. That’s why news like the newest Sesame Street puppet, Zari, make me VERY happy! She is joining Sesame Street in Afghanistan via Baghch-e-SimSim, the local Afghan co-production, for Season 5.
Zari, a full of life six year old, will be appear in segments that touch upon topics like girls’ empowerment, health and national identity. Her name means “shimmering”, which fits her personality and energy perfectly!
Growing up reading and loving books like “I Am Malala” and “Breadwinner”, I gained knowledge on the struggle that many girls and women face in Afghanistan, as well as many neighboring countries, when it comes to women’s rights and education, in particular. Zari’s character has a focus on influencing little girls that school and learning is something for them. It is something that they can look forward to and be excited about.
“The exciting part about Zari is that she is modeling for young girls that it is wonderful to go to school and that it’s ok to dream about having a career,” Sherrie Westin, Sesame Workshop’s executive vice president of global impact and philanthropy.
Girls’ Education & Rights
Having the first Afghan Sesame Street character be a girl is huge! It is an opportunity to open up the minds of many in the country that do not believe girls should receive education. Zari will help guide the way for many little girls that will one day be leaders in Afghanistan like doctors, lawyers, marketing pros, artists, etc.
Little movements like this add another grain of sand to our goal of achieving equality for women and girls around the world. I believe that Zari will play an imperative role to girls’ education in Afghanistan, and hope that she moves mountains by opening up the minds of those that don’t yet believe in equal rights for Afghan girls and girls in other countries.