Afghanistan’s version of Sesame Street, Baghch-e-Simsim, introduced a new muppet, Zeerak, who’s spreading the importance of women’s education.
Zeerak is the 4-year-old brother of Zari, who made her debut last year. According to AFP, the producers of the show hope that Zeerak, who looks up to his older, educated sister, will inspire positive attitudes about women’s education in Afghanistan.
The orange muppet, whose name means “smart” in Dari and Pashto, wears spectacles and traditional Afghan clothing.
The report also stated that the show has immense reach—approximately 80 percent of children and parents who have the access to broadcast networks tune in to watch Baghch-e-Simsim.
In male-dominated, conservative Afghanistan, parents tend to favor and invest more in a boy’s education and future.
The National Risk and Vulnerability Assessment Center published a report that showed that only 66 percent of boys and abut 37 percent of girls between the ages of 15-24 in Afghanistan could read and write.
Massood Sanjer, the head of Tolo TV, which airs the show in Afghanistan, hopes that the show will drive social change and will “indirectly teach the kids to love their sisters” and buy into the idea that education benefits everyone.