Everyone is welcome on Sesame Street! Sesame Workshop — the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street and local adaptations around the world — is introducing a new Muppet character to support kids affected by crisis and displacement.
The new character is an 8-year-old girl named Ameera, who uses a bright purple wheelchair or forearm crutches due to a spinal cord injury. Ameera is witty, inquisitive, funny, and has a passion for science and basketball. Sometimes, she gets wrapped up in her own ideas and forgets to notice everyone else’s, but she always remembers that play and learning are most fun when she includes her friends’ ideas, too.
Ameera will make her debut in Season 5 of Ahlan Simsim (“Welcome Sesame” in Arabic), the local version of Sesame Street in the Middle East and North Africa, as the Sesame Street squad learns about appreciation of oneself and mutual respect through play. The Muppets of Ahlan Simsim will help kids grow more confident and resilient in the face of life’s ups and downs. Ameera will also star in new “Watch, Play, Learn” animated videos that focus on topics like social-emotional learning, math, science, child protection, health, and safety. The videos are part of Sesame Workshop’s Play to Learn program and are designed to respond to the most pressing needs of kids affected by crises.
“Ameera was in development for over two years and was designed with the guidance of inclusion advisors who helped ensure that her identity, movements, and equipment were representational. An instant favorite with our writers for humor and wit, we know that Ameera will inspire young viewers to be curious and confident,” Head of International Production at Sesame Workshop Scott Cameron said in a statement.
Sesame Workshop notes that learning through play is especially important for kids affected by crises to create a positive outlet for anxiety, reduce stress, and promote resilience. This all helps give kids tools to overcome adversity and build the foundational skills they need to succeed in school and life.