NEW Arab version of show to help conflict-kids in Middle East. A band of Muppets, both old favorites and new friends, will star in an Arabic retooling of Sesame Street with a regional twist.

In its western iterations, the long-running franchise addresses issues including family breakdown.

The new Middle East version instead seeks to help children/students especially young Syrian refugees, cope with emotions. New characters will join Cookie Monster [Kaa 'ki], Grover [Gargur], Elmo and others in the new show in Arabic, called Ahlan Simsimi. It will take to the airwaves six days a week.

The show is a partnership between the International Rescue Committee [IRC] and Sesame Workshop, which is responsible for the programme worldwide. The aim is to offer ''nurturing care to children and caregivers affected by the Syrian Syrian conflict, according to a statement.

Since erupting in 2011, the war has displaced over 5.1 million Syrian children, with 2.5 million of them now living in regional host countries including Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan.

Sesame Street mainstay Grover sets out to interview children from across the Arab world, tackling issues including jealousy and how to care for loved ones.

''We are all different from each other,'' Grover said, ''Some of us like to sing and some of us like to dance and some like to exercise,'' added the gangly blue character, beloved of children and grownups since his 1970 debut. ''But I discovered we are all alike because we love each other.''

Executive producer Khaled Haddad shared, ''We have the emotional 'ABC's" and at the same time we present coping mechanisms to deal with these emotions. In every episode, we have a coping mechanism.''

He added Arab students/children had difficulty in expressing their emotions. ''They don't know what their emotion is, the child does not know he is terrified or angry or even jealous.

Through our episodes, we talk about these emotions and how to deal with them,'' he added. [AFP]


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