Zari and Zeerak.

Image: AP/REX/Shutterstock

Sesame Street has always taught kids valuable lessons. Now, in Afghanistan, those lessons are set to include the importance of gender equality. 

The country’s version of Sesame Street, Baghch-e-SimSim, last year introduced a character whose aim was to inspire Afghani girls. Now, the show is adding a boy muppet who will show kids the importance of respecting women, the Associated Press reported

The new muppet is a 4-year-old boy named Zeerak, which means “smart” in both of Afghanistan’s official languages, Pashtun and Dari. His sister is 6-year-old Zari. 

“In a male-dominant country like Afghanistan, I think you have to do some lessons for the males to respect the females. So by bringing a male character to the show who respects a female character, you teach the Afghan men that you have to respect your sister the same way as you do your brother,” Massood Sanjer, who heads the network TOLO-TV which broadcasts the show, told the AP. 

These are lessons that Sesame Street viewers could use anywhere in the world. And the team behind the new characters is hopeful that their work could be seen in other countries, too. 

“Possibly, in the coming years other Muslim countries, which are running this program, might use our characters, such as Zeerak and Zari. They might use our scripts, translate them in their own languages and use them in their countries,” the show’s producer, Ahmad Arubi, told the AP. 

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