Thursday, June 7, 2012

Things Not "A-OK" For Pakistani Sesame Street

Amid allegations of fraud and abuse, the United States has cut funding to the Pakistani version of the popular children's show, "Sesame Street."

"Sim Sim Hamara" had previously been awarded around $20 million in funds from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), according to a report in The International News. The agency eventually received credible tips that the organization chosen to manage the show, Rafi Peer Theater Workshop, had used the funds in a fraudulent manner. A State Department spokesman declined to go into the specific allegations.

Faizaan Peerzada, the head of Rafi Peer, told The International News that he had been told that the program would be ending because funds had ended. It wasn't until he read the reports in the media that he learned of the fraud allegations, which he fully denies. He claimed the organization's first audit report had been approved and that the second was due in July.

In a statement posted on their blog, Sesame Workshop wrote that it was "surprised and dismayed" to learn about the allegations against Rafi Peer. The statement went on to say that Sesame Workshop is awaiting the results of the ongoing investigation, and that they hope that "the achievements of 'Sim Sim Hamara', and the gains we have made in the lives of children in Pakistan, will carry on."

You can read the full story in The International News.

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