'Sesame Street' Welcomes First Afghan Muppet: A Girl Named Zari

Courtesy of Sesame Street

Zari will be introduced on the "Baghch-e-Simsim" Afghan local co-production of the show on Thursday.

Afghanistan is welcoming a new resident to Sesame Street with Zari, the first Afghan muppet.

Zari is a 6-year-old girl who will be joining season five of Baghch-e-SimSim, the Afghan co-production of the show. The muppet will be featured in locally produced segments focusing on girls' empowerment, national identity, physical health and social and emotional wellbeing.

The purple muppet's name means "shimmering" in the Dari and Pashto languages.

“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,” said Sherrie Westin, Sesame Workshop's executive vice president of global impact and philanthropy.

“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,” continued Westin in a statement.

The show will feature Zari speaking directly to viewers, interacting with children and interviewing Afghan professionals. Sesame Workshop released the following description for Zari's three segments:

Zari Exercises — Starting with a stretch her mother taught her, Zari shows kids at home how important it is to stay healthy and active. You can play sports like volleyball and cricket, or even just play in the park with your friends! 

Zari Says "Salaam" — Zari explains the meaning of the greeting "asalaam alaikum" and encourages her friends to use it to show they are happy to see one another. 

Zari Interviews a Doctor — During her check-up, Zari talks to her pediatrician, Dr. Khadija, and learns what it takes to become a doctor — and what her own heart sounds like!