Refugee living in Canada helps create new ‘Sesame Street’ for displaced children

posted on November 26, 2019

By CTV News |

Thousands of young refugees could be hearing a version of “Could you tell me how to get to Sesame Street?” in Arabic next year.

Starting February 2020, there will be a new, Arabic-language Sesame Street specifically focusing on displaced refugee children.

One Syrian refugee now living in Canada had a hand in creating the new show called “Ahlan Simsim,” which translates to “Welcome Sesame.” It’s designed to help young refugees cope with trauma and deal with feelings of isolation.

In a phone interview with, Mohammad Aljamous, who goes by Jamous, said this version of the classic children’s show, is “focused on trauma recovery.”

He hopes it will help child refugees “cope with the current situation living away from home and the hard condition in the (refugee) camps.”

Like its English-language counterpart, “Ahlan Simsim” will feature Muppets and human actors, while also offering coping tactics such as breathing techniques to help children deal with stress.

Jamous said one of the fictional characters will be fleeing war themselves, “so they will address and show ‘this kid needs more help, more friends.’”

According to the show’s website, Sesame Workshop partnered with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to develop the show, which was funded by a US$100-million grant from the Chicago-based MacArthur Foundation.

Last year, Jamous was tapped to help get the show off the ground as a consultant, while he’d been working in the digital department of the IRC. Before that, he’d been a refugee in Jordan for more than six years.

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