Little Amal, a gigantic young refugee girl puppet, raises awareness and teaches tolerance throughout her massive walk.
Since late July 2021, Little Amal, a 3.5-metre-tall puppet (11.5 feet), has been following the route of tens of thousands of displaced young people who have fled war and persecution. The project, called The Walk, has almost completed its 8,000 kilometres (4,970 miles) all the way across the Syria/Turkey border to the United Kingdom.
“An opportunity for people to be sympathetic and imagine what it would be like to be her”, said David Lan, one of the project’s organizers.
Crafted by Handspring Puppet Company, this initiative brings the refugee experience before depicted on theatres to the streets. Apart from raising awareness on the urge of young immigrants and asylum seekers’ needs, it has also burst the power of togetherness, art, and humanity.
On a TED Talk video, the artistic director, Amir Nizar Zuabi, clarifies the significant message of change that The Walk is pursuing:
“We want to challenge the perception about the refugee. We want to talk about them not as an issue, not as a problem, but to talk about the potential they bring, about the cultural riches they come from and to honour their experience. We want to turn this into a celebration of shared humanity and hope.”
Her journey began in Gaziantep in Turkey, and it will come to an end soon in Manchester, UK (November 03). Now, her message of sympathy towards immigration has gone viral on social media, where internet users share their support to the migrant puppet.
All along the way through Turkey, Greece, Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and the UK, the puppet, whose name means "hope" in Arabic, has been welcomed with an ongoing art festival. A mixture of dance performances, concerts, theatre, and artistic events accompanied Amal wherever she went.
There were 120 events of welcome over 65 cities, towns and villages. Among the presence of diverse artists, including singers, painters, filmmakers, well-wishers, civil society and faith leaders also participated on Little Amal’s path.
The latest welcome of Little Amal was in Sheffield (October 29), where she spent the night dancing with the crowd and was surrounded by public artwork. You can find videos and images of it on Little Amal's Instagram account.
An educational lesson
Little Amal is cultivating a different way of perceiving the refugee debate. What is often considered by many as problematic, has now been twisted to pass a message of hope and mutual opportunity. Parents have brought their children out to watch and engage with this moment.
Spectator Scott Bramhall took his five-year-old son Alfie to welcome Amal into Sheffield. For him, showing the event to his child is important. He said: “It's nice to make them aware of people who are less fortunate than themselves.”
To follow Little Amal's journey or to have further information, access The Walk project's website.
- Amir Nizar Zuabi: A theatrical journey celebrating the refugee experience | TED
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