Meet Noor and Aziz, the first-ever Rohingya Muppets
We created two brand-new characters to be featured in groundbreaking Rohingya-language content for refugee children in Bangladesh as part of our Play to Learn humanitarian program
It is always a thrill to welcome new members of the global Sesame Street family, and I am especially excited to introduce the first-ever Rohingya Muppets — Noor and Aziz, 6-year-old twins who will help bring playful learning to children living in the world’s largest refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.
These two new Muppets will be featured in groundbreaking Rohingya-language educational media as part of our Play to Learn humanitarian program in collaboration with The LEGO Foundation, BRAC, the International Rescue Committee, and New York University’s Global TIES for Children. By combining educational media with direct services reaching families in their homes, community centers, and play spaces, Play to Learn is infusing children’s daily lives with playful learning opportunities that are essential to their healthy development and empower them to overcome adversity and build a brighter future.
Noor Yasmin, known as Noor for short, is a 6-year-old Rohingya girl who loves to learn and play. She lives in the Cox’s Bazar refugee camp with her twin brother, Aziz, and their family. She is deeply curious about how the world works and uses play to help her understand her world. Her passion for asking questions and finding answers often inspires her and Aziz to try new ways of playing (and learning). She’s a confident girl who believes that there is no problem too big for her to try to solve.
Aziz, Noor’s brother, is a playful 6-year-old Rohingya boy. Aziz is a natural performer and storyteller; he loves to use his imagination to create and act out stories about kings, queens, and animals. His creativity sometimes distracts him from accomplishing a task, but Noor and friends help him focus. He enjoys assisting others with tasks like household chores and values the importance of helping his family and friends. He relies on his sister for support, laughter — and finding new ways to play!
These are two very special Sesame Muppets — for most Rohingya children, Noor and Aziz will be the very first characters in media who look and sound like them. At Sesame Workshop, we know how important it is for children to see themselves and their experiences reflected in our content. That’s why we have a long history of creating uniquely local characters around the world who children can relate to, with storylines that reflect their daily lives.
To create Noor and Aziz, we conducted extensive research to root the characters in the rich Rohingya culture. We also consulted with Rohingya children and families directly, testing character designs and personality traits. For instance, caregivers liked that Noor is curious about the world and emphasizes the importance of education. Caregivers also appreciated how Aziz likes to tell stories, which is an important part of Rohingya culture. The result of this careful development process are two characters who we hope will become the trusted, beloved friends of Rohingya children — and help deliver the curricular messages we set out to teach.
Noor and Aziz, along with familiar Sesame Street friends like Elmo and his parents, will be featured in new video segments focusing on the curricular areas of social-emotional learning, math, science, and health and safety. In every segment, the duo will engage in a learning activity centered around the five characteristics of playful experiences that help children learn best — experiences that are joyful, meaningful, actively engaging, iterative, and socially interactive. In partnership with BRAC, video segments will be shared through BRAC’s Humanitarian Play Labs and additional direct services. Facilitator trainings, storybooks, and printed educational resources will accompany the new video segments and be integrated into BRAC and IRC’s direct services in the coming year.
We are unveiling these new characters to bring the transformational power of play-based learning to children at a time when it’s needed more than ever before — as families face the dual crises of displacement and the COVID-19 pandemic. While many in-person services are suspended, Play to Learn is continuing to reach Rohingya refugee families through regular check-in phone calls as well as new short-form audio content, storybooks, posters, and other educational materials — all designed to help children stay healthy and continue learning and playing at home during this period of disruption.
In addition to supporting families affected by the Rohingya refugee crisis, Play to Learn is also reaching children affected by the Syrian refugee crisis in Jordan and Lebanon as part of Sesame Workshop and the IRC’s Ahlan Simsim program. By designing program approaches and educational content that can be adapted for different contexts around the world, Play to Learn is laying the foundation to transform how the world supports children in humanitarian crises, wherever they may be, for generations to come.
Learn more about the Play to Learn program here.