How to Get to Sesame Street: A San Francisco Counselor Finds Herself in Nigeria

Many Secondary Division students, especially middle schoolers, know and have enjoyed working with Amy Abdallah as our ATDP-GearUp counselor. Amy had worked at the San Francisco Unified School District for years, but all of a sudden this past fall, I couldn’t find her. Just as I was starting to wonder “Where in the World is Amy Abdallah?,” I heard from her. It turns out that the question I should have been asking is, “Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street, Abuja, Nigeria?” That’s where she is and where she’s having the time of her life. Amy asked me to reconnect her with everyone and included an update, along with a few photos. If you’d like to know more about her exciting work, you can read her blog entries at To learn more about the international presence of Sesame Street, visit


Far from having fallen off of the radar, I live and work in Abuja, the federal capital and home to many of Nigeria’s government and non-governmental agencies. Here, I have my dream assignment. I work on Sesame Workshop. My job description focuses on developing and editing programming and educational materials around literacy, numeracy, HIV awareness, and health and hygiene for teachers, caregivers, and orphaned and vulnerable children throughout all of Nigeria. The programming and materials are part of Sesame Square–Nigeria’s version of Sesame Street. (FYI: Sesame Workshop, in addition to Sesame Street, sponsors local versions of Sesame Street, in addition to educational materials, around the world!)

It was earlier this year, around when some thought that I had fallen off of the radar, that I learned I was selected to participate in the IFESH (International Foundation for Education and Self Help) program. IFESH is a non-governmental organization [a 501(c)(3)] that works to improve the lives of people in sub-Saharan Africa by addressing the problems of poverty and illiteracy. IFESH partners with other non-governmental organizations in order to best meet local needs. Their main collaboration is with USAID (United States Agency for International Development), and in my case, also with the Sesame Workshop.

In addition to performing worthwhile, important work, that utilizes parts of my brain that I did not even know exist, I am having a wonderful time in places far away from home with warm, kind, and accepting people. I invite you to stay in touch with me via my blog. In the meantime, I’m so glad to have shown you a different side of Sesame Street—Sesame Square–and have hopefully enticed some to join us.

Well, yes, I do get some getting used to. But the students, nevertheless, welcome me with open arms (and a few jokes).
Our school and home base.