Wellness Tips

Mid-Year Impact Report – Sesame Workshop

Welcome Sesame: Supporting families affected by crisis and conflict  

Crisis upends life for everyone, but especially the youngest children. With the support of our partners and donors, Sesame Workshop is able to take action for children whose needs are too often overlooked. In the earliest weeks of recent crises, in Ukraine, Türkiye and Syria, Sudan, and beyond, we tapped into our vast library of educational resources and partnered with local organizations to comfort children and keep them learning in their new “for now” homes.  


1 in 6 children live in a conflict zone.

That’s over 400 million children impacted by the physical and emotional wounds of war.


Nearly 37 million children

have been forcibly displaced from their homes.


A child’s brain is developing faster

in the first 8 years of life than at any other time.

Results in Action

We partnered with Ukrainian broadcaster PlusPlus to bring 140 new animated Sesame Street segments to help children cope with the trauma of displacement, communicate and process what they are experiencing, and develop a sense of belonging in new places. To date, the content is delivering social-emotional learning to half a million viewers in Ukraine and neighboring countries. 

A series of new live-action short films, created with our Ukrainian advisors and production team, were deployed to help reinforce positive self-identity and celebrate Ukrainian heritage.   

We also developed a teacher training guide for educators to use this new content in their classrooms. In training sessions with 154 Ukrainian educators who work with our local partners, a teacher shared: 

Our work in Ukraine was recently featured on PBS NewsHour. Correspondent Jane Ferguson spoke with children, parents, and teachers about how the ongoing war is impacting their lives and the ways that our Welcome Sesame content is bringing them much-needed moments of joy and playful learning amid the continuing crisis.  

Following devastating earthquakes that impacted over 18 million across Türkiye and Northwestern Syria — many of whom were already displaced due to ongoing conflict in the region — Sesame Workshop and its partners launched a response campaign promoting mental well-being resources to support the needs of children and caregivers who have experienced traumatic events. The campaign promoted topics including identifying and managing child stress, ensuring that children have a circle of safe, trusted adults for support, and wellness tips from a clinical psychologist.  

In response to the Syrian refugee crisis, Sesame Workshop launched Ahlan Simsim, a transformational initiative in partnership with the International Rescue Committee. Ahlan Simsim is bringing early childhood development and playful learning to families affected by crisis in the Middle East through direct services integrated with educational media, including a locally produced version of Sesame Street.

We recently unveiled the first results of Ahlan Simsim’s groundbreaking impact: 

  • Research shows a combination of our Ahlan Simsim 11-week remote preschool program combined with Ahlan Simsim media is comparable to an entire year of in-person preschool  
  • Children who watch Ahlan Simsim learn how to name and manage big feelings 
  • Over 23 million children across the Middle East and North Africa have watched Ahlan Simsim, our Arabic-language version of Sesame Street 

In response to the Rohingya and Syrian refugee crises, Sesame Workshop set out to deepen its work in crisis and conflict/the work of Ahlan Simsim by launching Play to Learn in 2018. In partnership with BRAC and the International Rescue Committee, this trailblazing program provides children affected by crisis opportunities to learn, grow, and thrive. In contexts where children are living through compounded crises including conflict and displacement, pandemic, and natural disasters, Play to Learn is unlocking the power of play to inject hope and joy into their daily lives. 

This innovative program is already creating impact in its target geographies and beyond:

  • Our Play to Learn program has reached more than 800,000 children, caregivers, and facilitators in Bangladesh, Jordan, and Lebanon to date  
  • Our all-new library of 140 educational videos has reached more than 30 million viewers in 19 languages in 28 countries to date