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Sesame Workshop debuts new Afghan character Zari

By Wade Sheridan
Sesame Workshop debuts new Afghan character Zari
"Sesame Street" muppets Elmo and Grover, along with their newest friend Zari, a female Afghan muppet that debuted recently in her home country's version of "Sesame Street." Photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Twitter

NEW YORK, April 8 (UPI) -- Sesame Street creators Sesame Workshop have revealed their newest character, a female Afghan muppet named Zari.

According to the company, Zari was created in order to promote female empowerment in Afghanistan where she made her debut Thursday in the country's co-production of Sesame Street entitled Baghch-e-Simsim.

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The character with a purple face and colorful hair will sometimes be featured wearing a veil as she appears in "new, locally produced segments that focus on curriculum topics like girls' empowerment, national identity, physical health, and social and emotional wellbeing," according to Sesame Workshop.

"Debuting a confident, inquisitive, and sweet Afghan girl character is a perfect opportunity to engage both boys and girls with lessons supporting girls' empowerment and diversity appreciation as we aim to help all children in Afghanistan grow smarter, stronger, and kinder," said Sherrie Westin, executive vice president of global impact and philanthropy at Sesame Workshop in a statement.

Sesame Workshop has also stated that Baghch-e-Simsim which debuted in 2011 with an all-male cast, has the highest awareness among children's television shows in Afghanistan, at 86 percent.

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Zari joins other recently debuted female muppets abroad like Kami in South Africa and Chamki in India. Back in October of 2015, Sesame Street launched a new initiative to bring awareness to autism along with the first muppet with autism, Julia.

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