Bringing Sesame Street to Kids Traumatized by War

Children don’t understand—or care—about politics. They don’t know about cease-fires or treaties, about neutral zones or foreign policy.

What they do know is home and family. They know where they’re safe and with whom. They know their community and their school, their friends and their neighborhood streets.

And for some kids, they intimately know trauma. They know raw terror and horrific experiences. They know devastating loss—of friends, of family, of home and community.

They know the complete dismantling of their entire world.

For kids in places like Syria, war has brought them close to trauma.

That’s why wherever we go, we look at how we can also care for the children, for the youngest among us, the future peacemakers and world changers. Whether it’s a hot meal or medical care or educational play therapy, caring for kids is woven into the fabric of what we do.

Recently PBS launched a new TV show, Sesame Workshop, specifically geared toward children who have experienced displacement and trauma in Syria and the surrounding war-torn areas. Episodes will explore emotions such as anger, loneliness, and fear, and teach coping strategies as well through adults and children who look familiar to Syrian kids.


An executive producer of the show, Scott Cameron, said, “The spirit behind ‘Sesame Street’ has always been it doesn’t matter if you have purple fur or yellow fur. It’s a place where children can feel safe and supported and where real things are tackled—like fear of the dark, frustration or loneliness.”

Nothing can replace individualized care for kids, like what is available through our refugee camp Friendly Center. But when the number of Syrian children affected by war is so large, and families are spread out around the world, it’s helpful for parents to have a resource like this, available on-demand, with just an internet connection.