Sesame Workshop was awarded the MacArthur Foundation’s inaugural 100&Change grant, in December 2017, for its collaboration with the International Rescue Committee to create Ahlan Simsim, a show for a rising generation of children affected by conflict and displacement across the Middle East and North Africa. Now, René Celaya of Sesame Workshop and Marianne Stone of International Rescue Committee share lessons learned from Ahlan Simsim's third year.
In 2020, the program's flexibility was put to the test – the global pandemic forced a pause of in-studio production and in-person services. In response, the team found creative ways to produce the show remotely, expanded the show’s social-emotional curriculum, and supported children and caregivers with digital materials. The challenges the team faced in Year Three highlight the need for interventions like Ahlan Simsim, and the team is committed to continuing to evolve their content and creating learning opportunities for children in crisis settings.
See the full article on the MacArthur Foundation's website to read the team's reflections and plans for the future in more detail. We look forward to seeing what's in store for Year Four of Ahlan Simsim!
Year three of Ahlan Simsim may have called for unanticipated flexibility—but the adaptations we put into place have provided lessons that have enhanced our work and provided insights for current and future crises around the world.René Celaya, Sesame Workshop and Marianne Stone, International Rescue Committee