Elmo wants to cheer up his friend Laila from Syria—so he decides to draw her a picture. Millions of children like Laila are missing out on education and need our help. (synopsis via YouTube)
Though it is justifiably known and lauded for its brilliant work as a worldwide educator of young children, and the source of great amusement through the parodies and many other creative means it uses to achieve that purpose, Sesame Street also plays a key role in creating social awareness about the many challenges kids form around the world face in going to school and getting the life-changing early education they need.
In their latest awareness-raising video, Whoopi Goldberg joins Elmo to talk about their special friend Laila in Syria, who like tens of thousands of Syrian children has been displaced from her home by war and sectarian conflict and can’t go to school.
Concerned for his special friend far away, for whom he draws a touching representation of their friendship, he talks with Miss Whoopi, as he very sweetly calls her, about his concern for his friend and what they can do to help.
This video, released for World Refugee Day on Tuesday 20 June, does a beautiful job of helping kids understand, in a way that make sense to them, why it would be awful not to be able to go to school, to see your friends and to learn.
More importantly, it gives an impetus to everyone that extends far beyond the day itself, to keep working to make sure that every refugee can firstly return home if that is possible, but if not or until that happens, be given every chance at a new life, whether that is in a new country or in their refugee camps far from home.
One thing’s for sure – education is key to giving refugee kids particularly the best shot possible at a new life, and it’s heartwarming and deeply motivating to see Sesame Street and Whoopi Goldberg (in concert with International Rescue Committee) play a vitally key role in making this happen.