Amal: A Little Girl on a Big Journey

Big enough to be seen from the back of a crowd? No, bigger than that. This is the story of our times. We want our little girl big.

“Little Amal” was designed to highlight the difficulties of Syrian refugee children to the world.

“Little Amal” set out from southeastern Gaziantep province on July 27 in order to raise awareness about the difficulties of refugee children on their journey to Europe with or without their families.

The Walk began in Turkey, a country that over the last decade has welcomed something like three million refugees. It ends in Manchester, a city that has welcomed refugees for centuries, in the heart of the UK, home of the great English poet William Blake and the great English philosopher Bertrand Russell.

Little Amal is the giant puppet at the heart of The Walk, traveling 8,000km in support of refugees. In 2021, the 3.5 meter-tall living artwork of a young Syrian refugee child will walk across Turkey, Greece, Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and the UK to focus attention on the urgent needs of young refugees. At each stop, she’s greeted by local festivals and celebrations.

We have nine puppeteers on the road making up three teams of the trio of human beings Little Amal needs to animate her. One is inside her ribcage on stilts, the movement of their legs becoming the movement of hers. This puppeteer also controls the action of her head, her mouth, and her eyes. Then there is one puppeteer guiding each of her arms. If she’s going uphill she needs a fourth bringing up the rear to steady her, so too if she’s walking through the wind.

She was prepared under the leadership of the Good Chance Theatre, a UK-based theater and art company that deals with refugee issues, and as part of the “Walk Project”.

Little Amal’s journey will end in Manchester, England on Nov. 3.

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