CBS Local — “Sesame Street” is headed to the Middle East with the mission of brightening the days of over a million child refugees in the war-torn region.

A $100 million grant from the MacArthur Foundation, a non-profit that “supports creative people and effective institutions,” is being given to the Sesame Workshop and International Rescue Committee (IRC) to bring childhood development programs to several countries.

Along with providing toys and supplies to around 1.5 million child refugees, “Sesame Street” will be aired throughout the Middle East via television and other digital platforms in the hopes of reaching nearly 10 million children.

“The most famous street in the world is going to spread its message of joy and love and laughter to some of the most vulnerable children in the world,” IRC chief David Miliband said, via Reuters. “They’ve lost parents or brothers or sisters. They’ve lost homes. They’ve lost their country.”

The grant reportedly funds a plan to bring a new, regional version of the 48-year-old children’s program that will be seen by children in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria.

“This production, these Muppets, will be created to reflect the children’s reality so that children can relate with them,” Sherrie Westin of the Sesame Workshop told NPR. “For instance one of the Muppets may have had to leave home. She may live in a tent… There may [also] be characters from the existing “Sesame Street”… it’s a mix of characters you recognize and characters that are completely indigenous.”


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