Little Amal, giant refugee puppet, arrives in New York to 'find uncle'

Little Amal, giant refugee puppet, arrives in New York to 'find uncle'
2 min read
15 September, 2022
Little Amal, a giant ten-year-old refugee puppet who represents an unaccompanied refugee, arrived in New York on Wednesday in search of her uncle Samir as part of the 'Little Amal Walks New York' project.
Last year, Little Amal completed an 8,000km migrant journey from Turkey to the UK in search of her mother to raise awareness of the plight of refugees [Getty]

A giant puppet of a 10-year-old Syrian refugee girl arrived in New York City on Wednesday morning in "search" of her Uncle Samir.

Little Amal - a three-metre-tall figure who represents an unaccompanied child refugee - arrived at JFK Airport after boarding a plane for the first time, carrying a message of "hope and solidarity" to the US.

The event is part of an initiative named "Little Amal Walks New York" after the giant doll walked across Europe to raise awareness about refugees when thousands fled to Europe.

Last year, the giant doll - operated by a team of puppeteers - completed an 8,000 km migrant journey from Turkey to the UK in search of her mother, taking around four months to complete the hike. 

"This morning, Little Amal arrived at JFK airport. She was welcomed by the @metopera and the children of @metrorchestra. Her epic journey starts now… come and meet her," a statement released by her official Instagram page reads.

The puppet will explore all five boroughs of the Big Apple over 17 days and will meet "civic leaders, community groups and young New Yorkers of all backgrounds" at free events across the area.

Live Story

The project is being completed in partnership with St Anne's Warehouse - a "flexible space… home to international, avant-garde & activist artists".

During Amal's journey from Turkey to the UK, thousands of people - including Pope Francis - visited or walked with her as she passed through European towns and villages.

She became a symbol of "hope" - as her name suggests - among her followers.

The puppet has also supported various other humanitarian and environmental causes.

Earlier this year, Little Amal laid flowers outside of the Ukrainian embassy in London in solidarity with the war-torn country following the Russian invasion. 

Little Amal also attended the COP26 climate conference last year, while on Gender Day she opened the plenary session of the talks with Samoan climate activist Brianna Fruean. 

The puppet was designed and built by the Handspring Puppet Company, based in Cape Town, South Africa.