Sesame Workshop Debuts New Male Afghan Character Zeerak

Sesame Street

Sesame Street creators Sesame Workshop have announced their newest character, a male Afghan muppet named Zeerak.

Zeerak, who will be used to "promote gender equity," according to Sesame Workshop, is the 4-year-old brother to Zari, a female Afghan character who was introduced in her home country's co-production of Sesame Street titled Baghch-e-Simsim in 2016.

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The character will debut on the long-running kids educational program in April.

The character, who has orange skin, glasses and regional clothing, is described as "an energetic and eager 4-year-old who is learning how to read and count and loves painting and playing games with Zari," whom he looks up to as a role model.

"We're thrilled to welcome Zeerak into the Baghch-e-Simsim family and continue our work to model the importance of girls' education and bring critical early learning to millions of Afghan children," executive vice president of global impact and philanthropy at Sesame Workshop Sherrie Westin said in a statement.

"We know children learn best when they can identify with characters, and research shows that Zari has been a powerful role model for boys and girls alike. The debut of Zeerak builds on the incredible impact we've seen Zari achieve over the past year," she continued.

The creation of Zeerak follows the debut of Julia, the first Muppet with autism on Sesame Street.

By Wade Sheridan

Originally published in UPI Entertainment News.