The United States and Sesame Workshop Partner to Support Ukrainian Children and Families Affected by Russia’s War Against Ukraine

Office of Press Relations
For Immediate Release
June 30, 2023

The U.S. government announced today a new partnership with Sesame Workshop to support children and families affected by Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine. Through funding provided by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. Department of State, Ukrainian children and families will now have access to new Sesame Street content in Ukrainian language, as well as tools and resources to help children, caregivers, and teachers process the trauma of conflict and displacement. These resources include animated videos and teacher training workshops.

With USAID support, PLUSPLUS – Ukraine’s leading animation channel for children and families – will broadcast 140 animated 5-minute video segments designed to bring playful early learning to children while paying particular attention to the unique needs and experiences of those affected by conflict and crisis. These engaging and entertaining videos promote math, science, and social-emotional skills, as well as health and safety lessons – all tailored for children ages 3-8. In addition to being broadcast on PLUSPLUS since March 27, this new content is also  available for streaming on demand on the Kyivstar TV platform.

In addition to the videos, Sesame Workshop developed and hosted, in partnership with USAID, a Virtual Facilitator Training in Ukrainian and worked with the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine to align their program with the Ministry’s Preschool Education Skills.

This new partnership between the U.S. government and Sesame Workshop will soon expand, with the support of the U.S. State Department, to include programming for internally displaced people (IDP) in the network of U.S. cultural centers in Ukraine, known as American Spaces. This programming will also add in-person elements to help caregivers support their own emotional well-being, provide psychosocial support to children, and foster creative play and early learning at home.

This announcement builds on USAID’s work to help prevent and mitigate the impacts of Russia’s aggression particularly among children. Since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, USAID has worked with partners to provide a range of services, including gender-based violence prevention and response activities and mental health and psychosocial support services, to help millions of children and other vulnerable groups. 

Sesame Workshop has a proven track record of delivering critically needed early childhood development opportunities to families affected by conflict and crisis through its Welcome Sesame Initiative, which builds on the groundbreaking work of Ahlan Simsim which was launched in the Syrian response region more than 5 years ago. This announcement adds to the nonprofit’s efforts to help Ukrainian children cope with the devastating effects of conflict and displacement. 

Today, Sesame Workshop resources in Ukrainian reach children, caregivers, and teachers in Ukraine and the surrounding region. These materials and additional Ukrainian-language content on Sesame’s YouTube Channel were developed with the input of global experts and are designed to help families cope with the trauma of forced displacement, communicate and process what they are experiencing, and develop a sense of belonging in new places. Sesame Workshop has also released a new series of live-action short films about positive self-identity created with Ukrainian educational advisors and a local Ukrainian production team. Featuring a diverse group of children and families, these videos celebrate contemporary Ukrainian identity and heritage through dance, music, arts and crafts, language, and food.

These videos, called Watch, Play, Learn, represent a first-of-its kind library of educational content, funded by the LEGO Foundation. Developed with the input of global experts, they are tailored to meet the needs of children in crisis.