'Sesame Street' wins $100 million grant to create programming for refugee children

The nonprofit organization behind “Sesame Street” has been awarded a $100 million grant from the MacArthur Foundation, the largest of its kind, to create programming for children displaced by Syria’s civil war.

Sesame Workshop, in partnership with International Rescue Committee, was selected for the foundation’s coveted 100&Change grant on Wednesday for a proposal to bring early education programming to refugee children. The effort promises to create a scalable, measurable model that can be replicated to educate refugee children around the world.

“Our early childhood development program will be the largest in the history of humanitarian response, bringing hope and opportunity to a generation of refugee children,” Sesame Workshop says on its website.

RELATED: 'Sesame Street' through the years

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'Sesame Street' through the years
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'Sesame Street' through the years
UNDATED PUBLICITY PHOTOGRAPH - Kermit the Frog (R), one of the characters of television's "Sesame Street" children's program is honored for his 30th anniversary on by "Grover", another character in the the popular program in this undated publicity photograph. A home video,"The Best of Kermit on Sesame Street," featuring classic Kermit songs and skits seen only on "Sesame Street" during the past 30 years is being released in September 1998 as part of Sesame Street's 30th Celebration. FSP/WS

New York, NY - April 5, 2004

Venus Williams and Elmo during Tennis Champion Venus Williams Plays Imaginary Tennis with Elmo for Sesame Street's 35th Season, airing at Sesame Street- Kaufman Studios in New York City.

(Photo by Theo Wargo/WireImage for Sesame Workshop)

New York, NY - December 6, 2001

United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan and his wife Nane pose for pictures with some Sesame Street characters after the taping of the show in New York. During the taping Mr. Annan breaks up an argument among the characters who are trying to determine who gets to sing the alphabet.

(DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)

Canada - January 19, 1997

Big favorites with the kiddies at the Ice Follies show in Maple Leaf Gardens were the Bert and Ernie characters from TV's Sesame Street; according to Star staff writer Frank Rasky. Big Bird was also on hand. 

(Photo by Dick Darrell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Frankfurt - October 24, 1997

A trader on the Frankfurt bourse trading floor on October 24, 1997 holds a massive stuffed doll of "Sesame Street" character Ernie. The Ernie doll was brought to the trading floor ahead of the flotation next week of U.S. company EMTV, which produces the Sesame Street program.

(Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)

May 13, 1990

Sesame Street characters with Rip Verniero, age 9. 

(Photo By The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Shanghai, China - June 30, 1998 

Big Bird joins Hillary Rodham Clinton at the grand opening of the Shanghai Children's Medical Center. The center is a joint venture with Project Hope of the U.S., the Shanghai city government and Shanghai Second Medical University. More than 250,000 children a year will be served by the center. Big Bird is a character on the television program Sesame Street.

(Simon Kwong/Reuters)

Circa 1969, Cast members of the television show, 'Sesame Street,' posing on the set with some of the puppet characters. Left to right: Will Lee (1908 - 1982), Matt Robinson (1937 - 2002), Bob McGrath and Loretta Long with (left to right) Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Grover, Ernie, Bert and Oscar the Grouch.

(Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

June 4, 2003

Katie Couric with Sesame Street's Oscar the Grouch and Elmo at the Sesame Street Gala to Celebrate 35 years of making a difference in the lives of children

(Theo Wargo via Getty Images/WireImage for Sesame Workshop)

NEW YORK, NY November 9, 2009

Sesame Street character Big Bird walks through Dante Park at the 'Sesame Street' 40th Anniversary temporary street renaming in Dante Park.

(Photo by Mike Coppola/FilmMagic)

San Diego, CA - January 9, 2016

Sesame Street characters Cookie Monster and Grover pose backstage at Sesame Street and HBO Host Free Museum Day with a special performance by Elmo and Friends at The New Children's Museum in San Diego, California.

(Photo by FilmMagic/FilmMagic)

New York, NY - November 9, 2009

Sesame Street characters pose under a '123 Sesame Street' sign at the 'Sesame Street' 40th Anniversary temporary street renaming in Dante Park.

(Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)

New York, NY - February 4, 2010

Sesame Street Live characters Elmo, Abby Cadabby and Cookie Monster celebrate the renaming of the corner of 31st Street and Eighth Avenue to 'Sesame Street' outside Madison Square Garden in New York.

(STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

New York, NY - September 19, 2007

Sesame Street characters Prairie Dawn and Zoe attend a portrait session for the You Vote Campaign at 1100 6th Avenue in New York City.

(Photo by Jemal Countess/WireImage) 

New York, NY - April 11, 2015

Cookie Monster and Taraji P. Henson as Cookie during the 'Sesame Street Promo' skit on Saturday Night Live.

(Dana Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

San Diego, CA - January 9, 2016

Sesame Street characters Rosita and Elmo pose backstage at Sesame Street and HBO Host Free Museum Day with a special performance by Elmo and Friends at The New Children's Museum in San Diego.

(Photo by FilmMagic/FilmMagic)

New York, NY - February 4, 2010

Sesame Street characters attend the temporary street renaming to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Sesame Street Live on 31st Street & 8th Avenue n New York City.

(Photo by John Lamparski/WireImage) 

New York, NY - April 2, 2012

Cookie Monster visits with Daphne Oz, Mario Batali, Michael Symon, Clinton Kelly and Carla Hall on 'The Chew' on ABC.

(Photo by Donna Svennevik/ABC via Getty Images) 

A Kermit the Frog puppet makes its way down 7th avenue on the Sesame Street float during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, November 26, 2009. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton (UNITED STATES SOCIETY)
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The organization has already started a pilot program in Jordan and will now begin work to replicate its model on a global scale.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the MacArthur Foundation contest was announced in June 2016 and called for proposals “promising real progress toward solving a critical problem of our time in any field or any location.”

Sesame Workshop and International Rescue Committee will focus their efforts on children located in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria.

According to UNICEF, countries surrounding Syria are hosting more than 5.3 million registered Syrian refugees, including more than 2.5 million children. Many refugee children are not enrolled in any school.

“We are compelled to respond to the urgent Syrian refugee crisis by supporting what will be the largest early childhood intervention program ever created in a humanitarian setting,” Julia Stasch, the MacArthur Foundation president, said in a press release.

“Less than 2 percent of the global humanitarian aid budget is dedicated to education, and only a sliver of all education assistance benefits young children,” Stasch continued. “The longer-term goal is to change the system of humanitarian aid to focus more on helping to ensure the future of young children through education.”

The program will include a customized, local version of TV show “Sesame Street,” home visits with caregiving support sessions, and the creation of child development community centers.

Learn more about Sesame Workshop, International Rescue Committee and the 100&Change grant here.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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