|Country of origin||Afghanistan|
|Original language(s)||Pashto and Dari (Persian)|
|Original channel||Tolo TV
|Original release||December 1, 2011 – November 12, 2013|
Baghch-e-Simsim (meaning "Sesame Garden") is a Pashto and Dari (Persian) children's television series based on the American Sesame Street, which was officially launched in Afghanistan on December 1, 2011. Characters appearing will include Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Grover as Kajkoal, and Ernie as Hadi along with Bert. However, it was reported that Oscar the Grouch and Count von Count will not be featured due to cultural differences.
The project is funded by the Embassy of the United States in Kabul and is produced in consultation with Afghanistan's Ministry of Education. The show's producer is Tania Farzana, an Afghan-American, and its initial 26 half-hour episodes are being aired in Dari language on locally owned Tolo TV. The Pashto version will be aired on Lemar TV. Education in Afghanistan is very low and Baghch-e-Simsim is designed to help with that, especially Afghan children because about 45% of the population is younger than 15.
Sesame Street was first introduced to Afghanistan in 2004 as Koche Sesame, which was shown on state-owned television and as a teaching tool within some schools in the form of DVDs. One of the segments was "Grover Around the World", based directly on the Global Grover segments of the American original. The new Baghch-e-Simsim version "will be partly filmed in Afghanistan with the rest lifted from other versions in Muslim countries including Egypt and Bangladesh", as well as Mexico and Russia.
TV channels and schedule
The show will be broadcast:
- Every Thursday through Sunday at 4PM on Tolo TV.
- Every Thursday and Friday at 5PM and Saturdays and Sundays at 3:30PM on Lemar TV.
- Farmer, Ben (November 30, 2011). "Sesame Street to be broadcast in Afghanistan". Kabul: The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved December 5, 2011.
- Sesame Street goes to Afghanistan by Jon Boone in Kabul for the Guardian. 30 November 2011.
- Sesame Street debuts in Afghanistan
- DeMott, Rick (December 1, 2011). "Sesame Street To Debut In Afghanistan". AWN News. Retrieved December 5, 2011.
- Sesame Street comes to Afghanistan, December 2, 2011.
- Afghan children ready to walk down Sesame Street by Daniel Magnowski for Reuters. November 30, 2011.
- How to get to 'Sesame Street' in Afghanistan, USA Today, April 30, 2004.