Afghanistan is welcoming a new resident to Sesame Street with Zari, the first Afghan muppet.
Zari is a 6-year-old girl who will be joining season five of Baghch-e-SimSim, the Afghan co-production of the show. The muppet will be featured in locally produced segments focusing on girls' empowerment, national identity and physical health.
The purple muppet's name means "shimmering" in the Dari and Pashto languages.
"The exciting part about Zari is that she is modeling for young girls that it is wonderful to go to school and that it's OK to dream about having a career," Sherrie Westin, Sesame Workshop's executive vp global impact and philanthropy, told Reuters.
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A Sesame Street Afghan muppet called Zari is seen in this handout image provided to Reuters on April 1, 2016. Zari, a curious and lively girl whose name means "shimmering" in both the Dari and Pashto languages, makes her debut on April 7, 2016 on the "Baghch-e-Simsim" Afghan local co-production of the long-running U.S. educational TV show for pre-schoolers.REUTERS/Sesame Workshop/John E. Barrett/Handout via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVE. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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"It's so powerful that the first Afghan Muppet is a girl," added Westin. Sesame Workshop worked with the Afghan education ministry in an attempt to avoid cultural resistance to Zari.