(Dubai, UAE, May 8, 2017) – MetLife Foundation and Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Iftah Ya Simsim, launched a new initiative called “Dream, Save, Do: Financial Empowerment for Families” at the Jalila Children’s Centre in Dubai. Part of a global multimedia program aiming to help young children and their parents acquire healthy financial skills and behaviors, the initiative provides engaging content featuring Muppets from Iftah Ya Simsim, the Arabic version of Sesame Street, with effective strategies for spending, saving, sharing, and donating.
Attending the launch event were key representatives from the Ministry of Community Development and HAAD (Health Authority Abu Dhabi), who welcomed the initiative and committed to continue working with Sesame Workshop and MetLife Foundation to help young children and families in the UAE by promoting financial culture and education in the early years.
Undersecretary of the Ministry of Community Development, Sana Suhail, said: “We are very proud to witness this collaboration between Sesame Workshop, MetLife Foundation, and Iftah Ya Simsim to help families in UAE become financially empowered. This is aligned with the Ministry’s objective to provide a stable economic environment for children, nurturing a conscious and creative generation, which in turn helps build the economy as well as prosperity of our society. The show has become an essential tool to help young children learn the Arabic language as well as values and life lessons that support their growth, and we look forward to seeing the positive effect of ‘Dream, Save, Do’ on their lives as well.”
“Both MetLife Foundation and Sesame Workshop have long histories of supporting the communities in which we work. Our goal is to ensure that families have access to the knowledge they need to put them on the path to financial security,” said Michel Khalaf, President of MetLife EMEA, and a Board Member of MetLife Foundation. “This program will help establish an early foundation for building positive lifelong habits.”
“Sesame Workshop’s mission is to help children grow smarter, stronger, and kinder,” said Nada Elattar, Director of Educational Programs, International Social Impact, Sesame Workshop. “Being smart means knowing so much more than letters and numbers. It means knowing how to solve problems and to think creatively. Our approach is to incorporate financial empowerment-related activities in daily routines and practices, to facilitate open communication and interaction between children and adults. We will also provide valuable information and skills that address the needs of the whole child and help families and children be better prepared for the future and potential setbacks.”
As part of the initiative, “Dream, Save, Do” content will be a part of Iftah Ya Simsim’s 30-episode Ramadan Series set to run throughout the Holy Month of Ramadan. The episodes feature the Iftah Ya Simsim Muppets learning about planning, saving, and making thoughtful decisions.
Dr. Cairo Arafat, Managing Director of Abu Dhabi-based company Bidaya Media, which produces Iftah Ya Simsim, added, “Iftah Ya Simsim supports the holistic development of Arabic speaking children, while promoting a strong sense of local heritage and strengthening the learning of the Arabic language. We are excited to take this one step further with the special ‘Dream, Save, Do’ series airing during Ramadan, which will see Elmo, No’man and Shams engaging with young minds, to help start conversations about spending and saving as part of their daily lives.”
In November 2013, MetLife Foundation announced its commitment of $20 million to Sesame Workshop over five years to address financial empowerment among families with young children throughout the world. “Dream, Save, Do” is also underway in Brazil, India, Mexico, China, Chile, and Japan and is expected to reach close to 75 million people worldwide.
Sesame Workshop and MetLife Foundation have worked together to build a coalition of global and local advisors and specialists to inform content development. Financial empowerment for families was determined to develop from three core motivational cues:
• “We can do it!” Having a positive attitude including having confidence and aspirations.
• “How can we do it?” Knowing behaviors related to self-regulation and executive function (conscious control of thoughts, feelings and actions) that can help set, plan and achieve goals.
• “What information do we need?” Having the knowledge and information needed to achieve financial empowerment and reach one’s goals.
Research and advice from the team of experts were used to drive the creation of
educational materials and multimedia content, including new animated and live action segments, interactive games, comics, songs, activity sheets, and caregiver guides.