Little Amal: Giant refugee puppet to land on UK shores

Giant 'refugee puppet' Little Amal due to land on UK shores on Tuesday
2 min read
18 October, 2021
The puppet of a nine-year-old Syrian girl is due to arrive at Kent's Folkestone beach as part of a 5,000 mile walk across Europe to raise awareness of the plight ofs refugees.
Thousands of people have walked with Little Amal through towns and villages across Europe [Getty]

A giant puppet of a nine-year-old Syrian girl will arrive in the UK on Tuesday, as part of a 5,000 mile trek across Europe to highlight the plight of child refugees.

Little Amal, a three-metre tall figure, will arrive at Folkestone Beach in Kent after leaving Gaziantep, near the Turkish-Syrian border, in July.

The same journey was taken by over 17,000 people wishing to seek refuge in Europe this year alone.

The 14-week street theatre event will come to an end in Manchester on 3 November after Little Amal - whose name means 'hope' in Arabic - visits numerous cities across the UK including London, Birmingham, and Sheffield. 

"It's been challenging, it's been difficult at times, but it's also been amazing and incredible," said David Lan, one of the producers of the walk, to The Guardian.

"People who are marginalised... see a representative of themselves... being celebrated... that’s very moving," Lan continued.

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The giant doll, operated by a team of eight puppeteers, has an entourage of around 30 people who have navigated Covid travel restrictions in order to successfully complete their journey.

They began in Turkey, travelling through Greece, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, and France and are set to land in the UK this week.

Thousands of people have walked with the doll through the towns and villages Little Amal passed through.

Little Amal was even blessed by Pope Francis on her visit to Rome.

The puppet was received with open arms for the most part, but in Kalambaka, a village in northern Greece, the village council decided not to receive a "Muslim doll from Syria", as the mayor described her.

"We're saying to people remember refugees are people. We hope that the memory of this odd, beautiful child walking through a village or city or over the mountains helps change the weather a little bit," explained Lam.