The refugee girl puppet will walk 8,000 kilometers from Turkey to England | Photo: ANSA/Youtube
The refugee girl puppet will walk 8,000 kilometers from Turkey to England | Photo: ANSA/Youtube

A giant puppet representing a Syrian girl is set to travel 8,000 kilometers – from a Turkish city near the Syrian border to England – to raise awareness for the plight of refugee children. Several of her puppeteers are refugees.

The giant puppet, called Little Amal, will travel for four months to raise awareness for the plight of refugee children, as part of the performance art piece "The Walk", which organizers describe as "a travelling festival of art and hope in support of refugees."

"Representing all displaced children, many separated from their families, Little Amal will travel over 8,000 kilometers embodying the urgent message 'Don’t forget about us'," they said on their homepage.

A trip from Syria to the UK

The puppet's journey is set to start on July 27 in Gazantiep, on the border between Syria and Turkey, and will end in Manchester on November 3. She is set to travel across eight European countries -- Turkey, Greece, Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, and England. During her stops in 65 cities, cultural events and performances will take place, many of them aimed at children.

Little Amal -- whose name means hope in Arabic -- is supposed to represent a nine-year-old Syrian refugee. The 3.5-meter-tall puppet was created by the Handspring Puppet Company, a British company known for crafting the puppets for the acclaimed theater play "War Horse."

The puppet is this large "because we want the world to grow big enough to greet her. We want her to inspire us to think big and to act bigger," artistic director Amir Nizar Zuabi said.

35 million refugee children worldwide

Millions of children worldwide have been forced to flee their homes or have been born in camps -- many of them lack access to a safe shelter, food, clean bathrooms and education. An estimated 35 million of the 82.4 million forcibly displaced people woldwide are below 18 years of age, according to UNHCR.

The Walk is being producted produced by British theater and art company Good Chance, which was founded in response to the plight of migrants in Calais in 2015, along with several prominent artists, such as Oscar nominated director Stephen Daldry.

"The Walk will bring together celebrated artists, major cultural institutions, community groups and humanitarian organisations to create one of the most innovative and adventurous public artworks ever attempted," organizers said.


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