Sunny days, chasing the clouds away… Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street? Or should I say, “Baghch-e-Simsim,” Afghanistan’s version of “Sesame Street” and for the first time in “Baghch-e-Simsim’s” history, there’s a new girl in town. Meet Zari, the first female character on “Baghch-e-Simsim.” At just six years old, she’s breaking down barriers and talking to children (and their parents) about the importance of things like education, exercise and peace.
I had the chance to meet Zari while she was visiting New York, a city she liked especially because of its nickname ‘the Big Apple’ because she “really likes fruit.” We sat down in the Yahoo! News studio to talk about her exciting new role and the impact she’s having on young girls around the world. And, no surprise, she told me her favorite thing in the world is school (and she also really likes to play soccer). During our interview, I asked her to describe what she likes the most about school.
“I love learning about other cultures, and other languages. It’s all just so interesting!” Zari told me.
Our interview was Zari’s first one in America — and she spoke to me in English for the occasion. But, on the show, Zari speaks the main languages of Afghanistan: Dari and Pashto. She even took the time to teach me a few important Pashto phrases such as Assalaam alaikum, which means “peace be upon you.” She’s not only spreading her wisdom in Afghanistan, but here as well.
My friend Sherrie Westin, Sesame Workshop’s executive vice president of global impact and philanthropy, also joined our interview to highlight Zari’s impact.
“Through the power of little characters like Zari, that there’s a great ability to not only inspire young girls, but, I think equally important, is that we can model for young boys that it’s OK for a girl to have an education, and for women to have different roles and responsibilities.”
It’s remarkable the impact that young Zari is having on girls and boys in Afghanistan. She is truly someone special!
Watch our complete interview on Yahoo News.