The new Muppet characters will be featured in Rohingya-language educational media as part of the “Play to Learn” program in partnership with BRAC, the International Rescue Committee (IRC), and New York University’s Global TIES for Children. “Play to Learn” is delivering early education to families living in the world’s largest refugee camp, in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, which is home to more than 800,000 Rohingya refugees who fled conflict in neighboring Myanmar, more than half of whom are children.
Noor Yasmin, known as Noor for short, is a 6-year-old Rohingya girl who loves to learn and play. She lives in the Cox’s Bazar refugee camp with her twin brother, Aziz, and their family. Noor loves to make up fun and funny new rules for the games she plays with her
“Noor and Aziz are at the heart of our efforts to bring early education and learning through play to children and caregivers affected by the Rohingya refugee crisis, who have been impacted tremendously by the dual crises of displacement and the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Sherrie Westin, president, social impact, Sesame Workshop. “These are two very special Sesame Muppets – for most Rohingya children, Noor and Aziz will be the very first characters in media who look and sound like them. Rooted in the rich Rohingya culture and informed by extensive research and input from Rohingya families, Noor and Aziz will bring the transformative power of playful learning to families at a time when it’s needed more than ever before.”
The two new characters, along with familiar “Sesame Street” friends like Elmo and Elmo’s dad, Louie, will be featured in new video segments on social-emotional learning, math, science and health and safety. In every segment, the duo will engage in a learning activity centered around the five characteristics of playful experiences that help children learn best – experiences that are joyful, meaningful, actively engaging, iterative and socially interactive. In partnership with BRAC, video segments will be shared through BRAC’s Humanitarian Play Labs and additional direct services. Facilitator trainings, storybooks and printed educational resources will accompany the new video segments and be integrated into BRAC and IRC’s direct services in the coming year.
“Investing in learning through play is even more crucial now, where thousands of children affected by the Rohingya refugee crisis, now face the additional unforeseen challenges posed by the global pandemic,” says Sarah Bouchie, chief impact officer, The LEGO Foundation. “Noor and Aziz not only share similar experiences with many of the children who find themselves in this crisis, they will also help these young children to overcome trauma and stress and build resilience, while engaging in fun play-based learning activities. Learning through play also helps children to develop the holistic skills, including creativity and social-emotional skills, which are vital to survive and thrive in this rapidly changing world.
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