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‘Sesame Street’ Afghanistan version gets female character

Katie Couric interviews Zari, the first female muppet

Katie Couric interviews Zari, the first female muppet on Afghanistan's version of "Sesame Street," called "Baghch-E-Simsim." Credit: Yahoo News / Gordon Donovan

Zari is the first female muppet of Afghanistan’s version of “Sesame Street,” called “Baghch-E-Simsim.” The 6-year-old, pink muppet talks to kids about education, exercise and peace.

In her first U.S. interview with journalist and Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric, Zari talks about being a celebrity, meeting Afghanistan’s first lady and loving that New York is called the “Big Apple” because she loves fruit.

“Sesame Street” has aired in Afghanistan since 2011. Zari is the first local character on that show. “In Afghanistan, there’s a large portion of girls who are not in school. In fact, it’s over two-thirds,” says Sherrie Westin, Sesame Workshop’s executive vice president of global impact and philanthropy, who appears alongside Zari during Couric’s interview. “This is a culture where girls aren’t often valued in the same way and aren’t given the same opportunities, and we know that 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 the fact 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 . . . not only are we reaching girls who may have no means of education, but we are modeling important culture changes.”

To see Zari’s interview, visit

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