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After millions of children have been displaced by war in Syria, a popular children’s television show in the U.S.A. has decided to step in and help.

The show Sesame Street has decided to help Syrian children through its non-profit organisation The Sesame Workshop. The Sesame Workshop and the International Rescue Committee won a $100 million grant to help these child refugees. The grant will be used to help children in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan. It was awarded by the John D and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation which is keen to bring significant change to the major issues of the world.

The head of the Sesame Workshop called the Syrian refugee crisis the “humanitarian issue of our time” and said “this may be our most important initiative ever.”

This grant is one of the biggest single donations ever given to help education. It will provide early childhood education and help young refugees cope with any trauma they may have experienced. The show’s puppet characters will be used in a classroom setting to help teach children and provide a fun environment where they can forget the difficulties they may face in daily life.

A customised version of the Sesame Street show is also in the works, it will cater to Syrian children. They will be able to watch it on mobile phones and it will focus on literacy and numeracy, as well as valuable relationship skills.

Child development centres will be created where parents can bring in their children and be given advice, as well as other resources and information.

The president of the foundation has said, this will be “the largest early childhood intervention program ever created in a humanitarian setting” and that “the longer-term goal is to change the system of humanitarian aid to focus more on helping to ensure the future of young children through education.”

Difficult words

Displaced: Moved to a new place

Non-profit: An organisation that does not make money.

Grant: Money awarded to someone to help them.

Humanitarian: Somehting to help human welfare.

Initiative: To do something independently

Cope: To deal with or manage

Trauma: A distressing experience

Customise: Change for one specific thing

Cater: To provide for

Intervention: To get involved and try to change something

 

Activities

For listening practise, listen to the recorded article here:

British English:

American English:

Match the Synonym!

1. Displaced A. Award
2. Grant B. Drive
3. Humanitarian C. Shock
4. Initiative D. Change
5. Cope E. Provide
6. Trauma F. Move
7. Customise G. Involvement
8. Cater H. Humane
9. Intervention I. Manage

True or False?

1. Only adults in Syria have been affected by the war. T / F

2. A popular show in the U.K. has decided to step in and help. T / F

3. The Sesame Workshop does not make any profits from its organisation. T / F

4. The grant will only help children in Syria. T / F

5. The donation is one of the biggest ever given for education. T / F

6. The initiative will provide high school and university level education. T / F

7. A customised version of the show will be made for Syrian children. T / F

8. Children will only be able to watch the show on a television.  T / F

9. The organisation will give refugees new homes. T / F

10. The foundation wants to help children have a better future with education. T / F

Unscramble the sentence!

1. decided / popular / in / and / show / in / to / the / U.S.A. / has / A / help / television / step / children’s

2. Syria / help / to / The / be / will / in / children / grant / used

3. The / setting / in / puppet / will / characters / show’s / be / used / classroom / a

4. bring / their / parents / centres / can / be / children / where / Child / development / in / will / created

5. in / version / of / A / works / customised / Sesame / is / also / Street / the / the / show

Listening and Vocabulary

Listen to the article and fill in the words OR practice vocabulary and fill in the words.

British English:

American English:

Literacy Humanitarian Crisis
Grant Customised Displaced
Cope Goal Significant

 

After millions of children have been ______________ by war in Syria, a popular children’s television show in the U.S.A. has decided to step in and help.

The show Sesame Street has decided to help Syrian children through its non-profit organisation The Sesame Workshop. The Sesame Workshop and the International Rescue Committee won a $100 million _________ to help these child refugees. The grant will be used to help children in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan. It was awarded by the John D and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation which is keen to bring _____________ change to the major issues of the world.

The head of the Sesame Workshop called the Syrian refugee _________ the “humanitarian issue of our time” and said “this may be our most important initiative ever.”

This grant is one of the biggest single donations ever given to help education. It will provide early childhood education and help young refugees _________ with any trauma they may have experienced. The show’s puppet characters will be used in a classroom setting to help teach children and provide a fun environment where they can forget the difficulties they may face in daily life.

A ______________ version of the Sesame Street show is also in the works, it will cater to Syrian children. They will be able to watch it on mobile phones and it will focus on ___________ and numeracy, as well as valuable relationship skills.

Child development centres will be created where parents can bring in their children and be given advice, as well as other resources and information.

The president of the foundation has said, this will be “the largest early childhood intervention program ever created in a _________________ setting” and that “the longer-term ________ is to change the system of humanitarian aid to focus more on helping to ensure the future of young children through education.”

Conversation Questions

Take turns speaking with a partner or try to answer on your own:

1. Did you find this article interesting? Why or why not?
2. Did you learn anything new from this article? If so, what?
3. What do you know about the war in Syria?
4. Is Sesame Street popular in your country?
5. What can be done to aid the refugee crisis in Europe?
6. Should countries be doing more to help the situation in Syria?
7. Should countries in the EU and America send troops to Syria?
8. How has the crisis in the Middle East had an impact on your country?
9. Is TV good for children?
10. Is there a limit to how much screen time children should be having?
11. What is the best way to help the children in Syria?
12. Do you think this program will have a positive impact on the children in Syria?
13. Do you think having the puppets in the classroom will help educate them?
14. Do you agree that this is the “humanitarian issue of our time”?
15. Do you think their entire focus should be on young children?
16. What is the biggest humanitarian issue in your country?
17. Would you take your child to this kind of facility?
18. Did you watch a lot of television as a child?
19. Do you feel like you learned valuable things  from television as a child?
20. If you had $100 million dollars to help a crisis, who would you help?