Instead Of Avoiding The Refugee Crisis, 'Sesame Street' Is Looking For A Way To Help The Most Vulnerable Affected By It

Knowledge is power.

Sesame Street has always tackled complex subjects for children. Now, it's expanding into new territory: creating content for refugee children.

But instead of jumping headfirst into appealing to different cultures, the Sesame Workshop –– the nonprofit organization that produces the show –– is learning its lessons one day at a time. It's partnering with the International Rescue Committee and visiting refugee camps in Jordan to do research. The goal is to strengthen the resiliency children 3 to 6 have while also improving their language, math, and reading skills, according to NPR. 


The Sesame Workshop is no stranger to doing extensive research before filming these kinds of episodes. During the General Assembly in September 2016, it filmed a video explaining what refugees are featuring the U.S. State Department's Deputy Secretary Tony Blinken.

Continuing its commitment to accuracy, the organization recently worked with representatives from organizations ranging from UNICEF to Harvard University, and learned important lessons such as how to teach children to manage their emotions and not to make assumptions that everyone has the same views about issues such as inclusivity. 

Sherrie Westin, the workshop's executive vice president for global impact and philanthropy, confirms that their team takes every new project seriously.

"Before we really can begin anything in earnest, we bring together advisers from the outside and we try to learn as much as we can," she said to NPR.

To Shari Rosenfeld, Sesame's senior vice president for social impact, however, there's more work to be done on the ground in different countries with refugees before fleshing out what to bring to the show.

She said a day-long gathering was crucial but "insufficient, until we go back to the region, back to Jordan, back to Lebanon, back to Iraq and bring some of the working hypotheses to say, 'OK, we're going to test these with you. What makes sense? Help us figure out where to focus.'"

(H/T: NPR)

Cover image via Instagram


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