There are two new muppets in town.
Sesame Workshop is set to unveil its first ever Rohingya muppets, 6-year-old twins Noor and Aziz. The brother and sister are part of the Play to Learn Humanitarian Program and will be featured in groundbreaking Rohingya-language educational media.
“For most Rohingya children, Noor and Aziz will be the very first characters in media who look and sound like them,” Sesame Workshop Social Impact President Sherrie Westin said. “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.”
Sesame Workshop is the nonprofit organization that powers the beloved “Sesame Street” television series. In addition to production, it develops formal education and social impact programs.
The twins live in the Cox’s Bazar refugee camp with their family. Noor (short for Noor Yasmin) is a deeply inquisitive, innovative and confident girl who believes there is no problem too big for her to solve. Her brother is her creative counterpart. A natural performer and storyteller, Aziz loves to help his family and friends and use his imagination.
“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,” Westin said.
Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh is home to over 800,000 Rohingya refugees who fled Myanmar. Given that half of the refugees are children, Play to Learn delivers critically needed early education to these families. Its efforts also reach children affected by the Syrian refugee crisis. Programming also includes short-form audio content with tips on play and engagement, family nutrition, caregiver mental health and COVID-19.
“Investing in learning through play is even more crucial now, where thousands of children affected by the Rohingya refugee crisis [also] face the additional unforeseen challenges posed by the global pandemic,” LEGO Foundation Chief Impact Officer Sarah Bouchie explained. “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.”
The Play to Learn initiative is made possible by the LEGO Foundation and is part of a partnership with BRAC, the International Rescue Committee and New York University’s Global TIES for Children.
You’ll find Aziz and Noor in video segments that are all about math, science, health and safety and social-emotional learning, which will be paired with storybooks, printed educational resources and facilitator trainings. The videos will be shared through BRAC’s Humanitarian Play Labs.