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Sesame Street Plans to Educate Children Displaced by Conflict

The organization is teaming with the International Rescue Committee to deliver early learning and social-emotional support to millions of refugee children.

refugee girl hugging muppet macfound/YouTube
There are currently 12 million children under the age of 8 who have been displaced from their homes by conflict and persecution, and who face multiple adversities, including limited access to education, loss of loved ones, and violence—all of which have a long-lasting, negative impact on their health and behavior.

Now the International Rescue Committee and Sesame Workshop are working together to create multimedia content for refugee children in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria, in order to help meet their critical developmental needs and mitigate the effects of those adverse childhood experiences

How? By using the friendly Sesame Street Muppets to create programs and culturally relevant content for children in crisis, and by providing tools to help parents and caregivers more effectively engage with them and support learning.

Sounds like a pretty genius plan. And not surprisingly, the project has been selected as a semi-finalist for a $100 million grant from the MacArthur Foundation. But even if it doesn't win, the organizations say they will move forward with the effort anyway.

"Nearly half of all refugees are children who face bleak prospects due to the trauma of displacement and war," explained David Miliband, president and CEO of the IRC in a release. "Our partnership with Sesame Workshop will help transform children's lives by making sure that their social-emotional needs are met so they are able to receive an education, contribute to their community, and succeed as adults."

If you want to learn more about the initiative, or just watch some really cute footage of some of the kids with the Muppets, check out the video below:

Hollee Actman Becker is a freelance writer, blogger, and mom of two who writes about parenting and pop culture. Check out her website holleeactmanbecker.com for more, and then follow her on Instagram and Twitter.