Syrian puppet refugee 'Little Amal' returns to London to raise funds for displaced children

Syrian puppet refugee 'Little Amal' returns to London to raise funds for displaced children
Little Amal - a three-meter tall partially-animatronic puppet - has journeyed over a dozen countries since 2021 in a bid to raise awareness on the plight of child refugees who have been displaced by war and conflict across the globe.
3 min read
01 April, 2023
Little Amal has travelled to the United Kingdom on previous occasions, in a bid to highlight the plight of refugees seeking a better life in Europe [Getty]

The giant refugee puppet Little Amal walked through the UK capital London on Saturday, in a bid to raise awareness on children displaced by war and conflict globally.

The three-metre tall puppet - which represents a 10-year-old unaccompanied Syrian child - lead a sponsored walk through London’s northern area of Hampstead Heath between 10:30AM and 11:30AM, in collaboration with the NGO 'Choose Love', which supports refugees.

The giant puppet’s walk aimed to raise funds for children displaced by war across the world, as well as those left homeless due to the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake which struck Turkey and Syria in February this year.

Funds will go towards projects such as warm winter clothing, back-to-school kits, and fully-equipped mobile medical clinics serving children living in refugee camps, among others.

Amal - whose name means "Hope" in Arabic - returned to UK shores on Wednesday. The following day, the puppet met with children and families whose families sought asylum in the UK in the beach city of Brighton on Thursday, according to the WalkWithAmal website.

On Sunday, Amal will lead an interfaith celebration in the London borough of Camden, as the Abrahamic celebrations of Ramadan, Easter and Passover coincide with each other.

The Labour Party candidate for Finchley and Golders Green Sarah Sackman, who joined the walk in north London, said in a tweet:

"Children have rights that cannot be flouted. Little Amal reminds us of displaced children and their humanity. A privilege to join the crowds in London to raise funds for refugee children and to send a message to Suella Braverman and this cruel Govt".

The performance art project, which was started in 2021 by the British production companies The Walk Productions and Good Chance, is designed to highlight the plight of refugee children, as well as celebrate cultural diversity and human migration.

The partially-animatronic puppet - who is operated by a team of puppeteers - "travels" throughout Europe by following routes typically used by migrants over the last decade "in search" of her mother. She has also met a number of political and faith leads, including Pope Francis.

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Since the project began almost two years ago, Little Amal has travelled over 9,000 kilometres in 13 countries, starting from the Turkish-Syrian border to the UK city of Manchester, via Europe.

Last year, the continent-crossing puppet made an appearance in front of the Ukrainian embassy in London, in a bid to pay respects to those affected by Russia’s invasion of its eastern neighbour.

The puppet also attended the COP26 climate change talks in Glasgow in 2021 where she spoke of the challenges encountered by child refugees in the face of climate change.