Our Impact

They call it the Sesame Effect. That’s what happens when you combine the power of media and the Muppets of Sesame Street. It’s proven. It’s measurable. And our favorite way to talk about it is through stories like these.

Elmo and a young girl, Islam, smile while looking through the opening of a tent

Islam lives in the Zaatari refugee camp. She dreams of being a doctor when she grows up.

Islam was born in Syria, but lives with her family in a refugee camp in Jordan. Around the world, more than 30 million children like Islam have had to leave their homes to flee conflict and persecution, and many have no access to quality education. That’s why we teamed up with the International Rescue Committee and BRAC in the Syrian response region and Bangladesh. Together, we’re bringing early education and play-based learning to refugees and children in host communities, reaching young children and families wherever they are: in their homes and communities, in preschools and health clinics, on their mobile phones and on television. Our programming will teach academic basics as well as the social-emotional skills children need to identify their feelings and begin to heal—and our characters will share powerful lessons in coping and resilience, helping millions of children like Islam overcome trauma and thrive.

I have the same hope as any mother. I want my kids to have a bright future. —A Syrian mother living with her children in the Zaatari refugee camp

A young girl and Abby Cadabby hug against a pink background

Ysenia and her family find everyday challenges easier thanks to Sesame’s autism resources

Ysenia has autism. She’s the youngest of three girls who live with their parents in a bustling, happy home. Everyday routines can be challenging for someone with autism—but Ysenia and her family found tools and resources to help through our autism initiative, Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children. At the center of the initiative is Julia, an adorable four-year-old girl character who is helping to show the world that every child is unique, and every child is amazing.

So, I’m amazing too, right? —a young girl with autism after her mother explained that, like the Sesame Street Muppet Julia, she too had autism

A young woman and a Sesame Street character look at painting of a rainbow

Sesame Street in Communities helps children and families cope with traumatic experiences every day.

Nearly half of all American children have experienced at least one traumatic experience like abuse, neglect, or the incarceration of a parent. The effects of trauma can be devastating, but children are remarkably resilient, and education and nurturing care can help them thrive. With Sesame Street in Communities, we partner with local agencies across the country to get free, bilingual Sesame resources to providers and to all the vulnerable families they serve.


As they grow up, children who watched Sesame Street have 16% higher GPAs in high school than their peers. They’re also 18% more likely to be employed, and 24% more likely to own a home.


That’s ⅓ of all Syrian children—and the number born since the war in Syria began.


In a recent awareness study, 52% of American adults were familiar with Julia, the first autistic Sesame Street character.

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Big Bird abraza a una niña

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