Who would have thought Halum, Tuktuki, Shiku and Ikri Mikri would become national icons when they first appeared on Bangladesh television four years ago? Today, they are household names among Bangladeshi children and caregivers, and right now the SISIMPUR family is in studio filming a fifth season of the beloved program.
Nonprofit educational organization Sesame Workshop and Nayantara Communications broke ground in Bangladesh with the April 2005 debut of SISIMPUR, an original Bangladeshi adaptation of SESAME STREET and the first locally-produced educational children's series in Bangladesh. In 2009, the co-producers continue to reach children with engaging and educational award-winning content through a new season of the country's top-rated children's show, slated to premiere 52 new half-hour adventures with friendly new faces this summer on Bangladesh Television (BTV).
This season, fairy-in-training Abby Cadabby joins the Muppets of SISIMPUR. Abby debuted on SESAME STREET in 2006 and on Mexico's PLAZA SESAMO last fall. This year, she joins the SISIMPUR family in an interactive segment through which she asks viewers to help her practice magic to achieve various goals, learning along the way the importance of persistence when trying to solve a problem. In addition, season five welcomes Shanto to the neighborhood. Shanto is the nephew of Guni Moira and Asha, the friendly owners SISIMPUR's stationary shop. He loves to learn and share new information with his friends in the neighborhood. The introduction of a new character will demonstrate the joy of working together as a community with new episodes focusing on family relations, respect, and social values and morals.
Additional highlights this season include the characters working as a team to prepare for Tuktuki's participation in a kite festival and new animations featuring an eraser and pencil that encourage children to practice their reading and writing skills. The content of SISIMPUR has been carefully researched and designed by local educators and child development experts to reach preschool children with age-appropriate content to address both academic and social issues most relevant to Bangladeshi children.
In a Dhaka-based study conducted in 2007, Associates for Community and Population Research (ACPR) found that children who watch SISIMPUR regularly, demonstrate literacy, math, and socio-cultural skills at levels equivalent to that of a child who is one year older who had no exposure. In addition, they found that children with exposure to SISIMPUR show greater gains in skills over time compared to their peers with no exposure.
Sesame Workshop works with Nayantara Communications to produce SISIMPUR in Bangladesh with world renowned puppeteer Mostafa Monwar serving as the series' chief creative advisor. The fifth season of SISIMPUR is made possible through generous support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Currently, SISIMPUR's fourth season is airing on BTV and BTV World in Bangladesh.