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4 ‘Sesame Street’ muppets you didn’t know were out to save the world

This article was written by Nisha Sambamurty, originally published by ONE here.

You read that right: These Muppets are indeed on a mission to make the world a better place! In fact, Sesame Street was created by Joan Ganz Cooney and Lloyd Morrisett in the hopes of using television to educate youth. Today, not only has that concept persevered, it has also expanded to include educating younger generations about issues that we at ONE hold near and dear. These four incredible Muppets are teaching young viewers about development, global health, and the beauty of different cultures. Let’s meet this talented bunch, shall we?

1. Raya is SUCH a star! She was introduced to Sesame Street in Bangladesh, India, and Nigeria and is part of the “Cleaner, Healthier, Happier” campaign, supported by World Vision and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Raya is incredibly passionate about water, hygiene, sanitation, and teaching kids about staying healthy. Her birthday is March 22, which also happens to be World Water Day! We LOVE that Raya is teaching children about such an important issue!

TM and © 2015 Sesame Workshop. All rights reserved.

2. Zari is one of the newest additions to the Afghanistan Sesame Street crew! Zari is an Afghani girl who wears a hijab and teaches her audience about breaking gender stereotypes. (Her name means “shimmering” in Pashto and Dari!) She was introduced to the series to show the world that girls can do anything!

TM and © 2015 Sesame Workshop. All rights reserved.

3. Kami is from Takalani Sesame, the South African Sesame Street, and she helps communicate an extremely important message to her viewers. In 2002, Kami was introduced to the world as the world’s first HIV-positive Muppet as a means to help mitigate much of the HIV/AIDS stigma that still exists. She has been present at UNICEF events, the United Nations, and at World AIDS Day. She knows a lot about HIV/AIDS and helps educate her young audience on it. Kami has also made appearances on Nigeria’s version of Sesame Street, Sesame Square!

The designer that made Kami said, “Who wouldn’t love this little monster who just happens to have HIV? And when you love something, you want to take care of it, and when you want to take care of it, it becomes part of you.” We could not agree more!

TM and © 2015 Sesame Workshop. All rights reserved.

4. Zobi is also from Nigeria’s Sesame Square—and he’s also Cookie Monster’s counterpart, or Nigeria’s Yam Monster! Since cookies are not especially prevalent in Nigeria, the show’s producers decided to make his favorite a nutritious (and delicious) staple: yams. Though Zobi does a lot more than just eat yams. He is a blue, fluffy cab driver who also teaches kids about malaria.

TM and © 2015 Sesame Workshop. All rights reserved.

THANK YOU, Sesame Street, for doing SUCH important jobs and for teaching our children about some of the world’s most pressing issues!