Baghch-e-Simsim logos
Zari 03

A locally-produced live action film from the show.

Zari from afghanistan w katie couric

Zari, with Katie Couric.

Baghch-e-Simsim (Sesame Garden) is the Afghan co-production of Sesame Street, produced by Sesame Workshop in conjunction with Afghan television station Tolo.

The program features dubbed segments from Play with Me Sesame, Sesame Street, and Global Grover, as well as segments and Muppets from the international co-productions in Egypt (Khokha from Alam Simsim), Bangladesh (Tuktuki from Sisimpur), Mexico (Lola from Plaza Sésamo) and Russia (Businka from Ulitsa Sezam). These segments are dubbed into both Dari (for airing on Tolo) and Pashto (for airing on Lemar). Framing elements featuring the American Muppet characters were borrowed from stock footage from's home page.

Each episode also includes locally-produced live action films featuring children from around Afghanistan. The first episode debuted on the Tolo and Lemar TV stations on December 1, 2011.

The first ever Afghan Muppet was introduced for the fifth season in April 2016. Zari is described as "an eager six-year-old girl" who appears in three of the new, locally-produced segments for the series, "speaking directly to viewers, interacting with children in person, and interviewing a variety of Afghan professionals." The season consisted of 26 episodes at 25 minutes each.[1]

Zari's brother, Zeerak, was introduced in the sixth season premiere in 2017.[2]


Tania Farzana, the Afghan-American producer of Baghch-e-Simsim, mentioned some changes that had to be made to comport with Afghanistan's conservative society:[3]

  • A scene with Bert and Ernie barking like dogs was cut due to the low status of canines in Afghanistan, and the widespread use of "dog" as an insult.
  • Due to a taboo on dancing in mixed company, children are encouraged to exercise to music, instead of dancing.

External links


  1. "Sesame’s world grows with first female Afghan Muppet" by Patrick Callan, April 7, 2016
  2. Sesame Workshop press release, "Sesame Workshop debuts new Afghan Muppet, a 4-year-old boy named Zeerak, on co-production Baghch-E-Simsim. June 29, 2017.
  3. Yahoo "Sesame Street comes to Afghanistan" AFP, Dec 1, 2011