On June 10, 2010, Dr. Jill Biden, wife of the U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, visited the Mapetla Day Care Centre in Soweto.Dr. Bident also met Kami, the HIV-positive muppet from Takalani Sesame, South Africa’s version of Sesame Street. USAID’s education program had supported development of Takalani Sesame for South Africa. South Africa was the first country to adapt Sesame Street for radio broadcast to benefit children, teachers, families and caregivers.Together Dr. Biden and Kami distributed soccer balls to the children in celebration of South Africa hosting the first World Cup on the African continent.

Nigeria will be getting their version of Sesame Street called Sesame Square. Sesame Square will have two Muppets to present the information. One Muppet will be a little girl name Kami who is HIV positive. The second will be a boy Muppet whose name will be chosen by the people of Nigeria through text message.

These Muppets will present early language and math to the preschoolers of Nigeria. Sesame Square is being made possible by a grant from the United States Agency for International Development. The grant will also fund outreach programs to Nigeria’s preschoolers.

Sesame Workshop has Sesame Street programs across the world. Each program meets the needs of the children in that country. Having an HIV positive Muppet is important because HIV affects many of the children in Nigeria. Kami is also part of the South African version of Sesame Street, Takalani Sesame. South Africa and Nigeria is among the African countries facing a high incidence of HIV infection. In 2008 there 1.2million children that were left orphaned due to HIV, 2.6 million adults were infected with HIV, and 220 000 children were living with HIV. People throughout Nigeria are dealing with HIV virus in one way or another and Kami will be a Muppet that the Nigerian children can relate to.

Source: C21Media.com and UNAIDS