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"Sunny day, sweepin' the clouds away..." arrives in Afghanistan

Omar Sobhani / Reuters

A "Sesame Street" character walks with Afghans at the French Culture Center in Kabul on Nov. 30. Children in Afghanistan will from Thursday be able to start their education as have millions of preschoolers elsewhere in the world: by watching TV show 'Sesame Street'.

Children in Afghanistan will now have a "sunny day, sweepin' the clouds away," as Sesame Street begins broadcasting a locally produced version of the show tomorrow. "Baghch-e-Simsim" will be broadcast in Afghanistan's Dari language, and is intended to help the country's education levels. The project, funded by the U.S. embassy in Kabul, is a result of Sesame Street working with the Afghan ministry of education and two local television stations. With its arrival in Afghanistan, Sesame Street will now extend to 22 countries around the world, including China, Nigeria, Mexico and Israel.

Reuters reports:

The series aims to encourage a love of learning in Afghanistan's youth. Around 45 percent of the population is under 15 and many will struggle to get an education, said Masood Sanjar, channel manager at TOLO TV, which will broadcast the show in Afghanistan's Dari language.

"Less than two-thirds of children are enrolled in primary school," he told reporters and children who had been invited to meet characters Grover and Ernie at a briefing in Kabul.

"'Sesame Street' is undoubtedly the most influential children's television program in the world. It was the first show to effectively use television as education," he said. Continue reading.

Omar Sobhani / Reuters

Afghan children pose for pictures with "Sesame Street" characters at the French Culture Center in Kabul on Nov. 30, 2011.