The muppet show "Sesame Street" is out to promote diversity as it recently introduced a new character in its series. The new character is named Zari, a hijab-wearing six-year-old girl from Afghanistan who is smart, active, and ambitious.
Zari has a lot of things going on for her because she is confident, lively, and curious. Her name means "shimmering" in the Dari and Pashto languages, according to Reuters.
She will star in the Afghan version of the show called "Baghch-e-Simsin," and will cover segments concerning health, exercise, and well-being. Zari will be interviewing doctors and other professionals related to the medical field to get advice on how she can pursue a career as a doctor.
"The exciting part about Zari is that she is modelling for young girls that it is wonderful to go to school and that it's okay to dream about having a career," said Sherrie Westin, Sesame Workshop's executive vice president of global impact and philanthropy.
"It's so powerful that the first Afghan Muppet is a girl," she added.
Zari also stands for female empowerment, especially since girls from her nation are excluded from obtaining a good education. A 2014 United States Agency for International Development (USAID) report revealed that Afghanistan has over 5 million kids under the age of five, but only a third of them are going to school.
"Part of the power of the broadcast and Zari's potential as a role model is to reach children and parents where they may not have access to other educational content," explained Westin.
The muppet will join "Baghch-e-Simsin" at the beginning of its fifth season. The show receives funding from the U.S. Department of State and is the most popular TV programme for children in Afghanistan. Sesame Workshop reported that 81 percent of children aged three to seven have already seen the show.