Tuesday, June 5, 2012
A plan by the United States government to fund a Pakistani version of "Sesame Street" has fallen through, amid allegations of corruption against local puppeteers. The Associated Press reports a Pakistani newspaper accused the Rafi Peer Theater Workshop of using U.S. money to pay off debts and award contracts based on nepotism.
The $20 million American project to develop Pakistan's own Sesame Street, called “Sim Sim Hamara,” was done in conjunction with the Sesame Workshop, which created the U.S. version of Sesame Street.
According to the AP:
The show, which includes Elmo and a host of new Pakistani characters, first aired in December and was supposed to run for at least three seasons. The U.S. hoped it would improve education in a country where one-third of primary school-age children are not in class. It was also meant to increase tolerance at a time when the influence of radical views is growing.
Relations between the United States and Pakistan have been more than a little tense, ever since November when U.S. aircraft accidentally killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. Reuters reports only recently have a handful of U.S. military advisers been let back in the country.