Meet The Newest Sesame Street Characters: Noor and Aziz


Nathalia Valdez, Editor-in-Chief

The new twin, 6-year-old muppets, Noor and Aziz, represent Rohingya refugees. Many Syrian children are displaced due to the war, so the makers of Sesame Street decided to create these characters in order for the children to find something to relate to.

“We know that children learn best when they see themselves and they can identify with these characters,” says Sherrie Westin, President of Social Impact at Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit that makes Sesame Street. A team spent more than a year developing the new characters for the latest iteration of a humanitarian program called Play to Learn, a partnership with the nonprofits International Rescue Committee and BRAC that brings play-based learning to children displaced by conflict. “The work includes videos with the new characters and older characters like Elmo, but also storybooks and other materials that children can access without smartphones or computers.”

The storylines consist of scenarios such as learning to deal with scary situations and cope with past trauma. “By promoting that engagement, you are really giving them more opportunity to build resilience, and to overcome the negative impact of the trauma and stress they’ve experienced,” says Westin. The characters ‘Noor and Aziz’ were created not only to help the children with their struggles but also for the Syrian children to be able to see representations of themselves on TV.