U.S. taxpayers to fund $20m remake of Sesame Street...for Pakistan

he United
States is funding a Pakistani remake of the
popular TV children's show Sesame Street.

In a new
effort to win hearts and minds in Pakistan,
USAID – the development arm of the US
government – is donating $20m (£12m) to the
country to create a local Urdu version of
the show.

The project
aims to boost education in Pakistan, where
many children have no access to regular

The show is to
be filmed in Lahore and aired later in the

"The programme
is part of a series of ventures that is
aimed at developing the educational
infrastructure in the country," Virginia
Morgan, a spokesperson for USAID, told the

"Education is
one of the vital sectors that need help in

The show will
be set in a village in Pakistan – rather
than the streets of New York – with roadside
tea shop and residents sitting on their

The remake
will star a puppet called Rani, the
six-year-old daughter of a peasant farmer,
with pigtails and a school uniform,
according to Britain's Guardian newspaper.

The Rafi Peer
group has been a leading light in Pakistani
theatre for nearly 30 years. The group has
been in the news in the past
for its off-the-cuff productions – but also
for the threats it has received.

In 2008 its
highly popular World Performing Arts
festival in Lahore was bombed. Although
no-one was injured, the attack set back the
arts in what is regarded as the countrys
cultural capital.

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