'Sesame Street' Is Taking Its Magic Abroad To Help Syrian Refugees

Who doesn't love Sesame Street? The answer is nobody. Everybody loves Sesame Street! And now some of the show's most famous and well-loved characters are going to be spreading their uplifting, delightful vibes to some of the people who need it most - children who have been displaced by the Syrian civil war.

Credit: Sesame Workshop

A joint effort by The Sesame Workshop and the International Rescue Committee has won a $100 million grant (£75m) to help with the 'toxic stress' on child refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Syria.

"This may be our most important initiative ever," said Jeffrey Dunn, who heads up the Sesame Workshop. He also called Syria's refugee crisis the 'humanitarian issue of our time'.

Cementing just how big of a deal this news is, David Miliband, who in addition to being a Labour MP is also president of the International Rescue Committee, said the funding would 'bring hope and opportunity to a generation of refugee children'.

"At a time when governments are in retreat, [non-governmental organisations] and philanthropists need to step up, and that is what we are seeing here - and in a big way," Miliband said.

The money for the project was awarded by the John D and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation, a philanthropic organisation based in Chicago. The award is one of the single biggest philanthropic donations to an educational project, which is pretty impressive.

Even better? The money will go to producing a customised version of the iconic children's television programme for Syrian refugees, that will be available on mobile phones and will help improve their reading and maths skills. It will also teach them about relationships and encourage respect for other people.

Credit: Sesame Workshop

Perhaps even more essential, given how destructive the war has been, is the fact that child development centres will also be created which will offer advice, resources and information.

The president of the foundation, Julia Stasch, called the initiative 'the largest early childhood intervention program ever created in a humanitarian setting'.

"Less than two per cent of the global humanitarian aid budget is dedicated to education, and only a sliver of all education assistance benefits young children," she added.

"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."

Words: Mischa Pearlman

Featured Image Credit: Sesame Workshop

Claire Reid

Claire Reid is a journalist at LADbible. Claire graduated from Liverpool John Moores University with a BA in journalism. She’s previously worked at Trinity Mirror. Since joining LADbible, Claire has worked on pieces for the UOKM8? mental health campaign, the Yemen crisis, life in the Calais Jungle as well as a profile of a man who is turning himself into a cyborg.

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