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Sesame Street Supports Gender Equality in Afghanistan | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Puppeteer Seema Sultani holds Zeerak, the new muppet on
Afghanistan’s “Sesame Street” meant to promote education and gender
equality. (Wakil Kohsar / AFP/Getty Images)

Kabul, London- The new Afghan version of “Sesame Street” known as “Baghch-e-Simsim” will feature a new Afghan muppet “Zeerak”, a character designed to promote gender equality and women education.

The male muppet “Zeerak” is four years old and wears a traditional Afghan outfit: a shirt and a pant.

His name means “elegant” in Afghanistan’s two official languages, Pashto and Dari. He is the younger brother of the confident student “Zari”, Sesame Street’s first Afghan Muppet.

As the younger, supportive, and proud brother of Zari, Zeerak is supposed to promote gender equality and underline the importance of education for women in the conservative country, which is gender-segregated.

Massood Sanjer, head of Tolo TV which airs the show, believes introducing a boy, who adores and wants to emulate his school-going, older sibling, will indirectly teach the kids to love their sisters and treat them well.