Refugee Puppet Little Amal Begins American Tour in Boston

Amal made her first international journey in 2021 as part of a global initiative called “The Walk.” The initiative aimed to raise awareness about the plight of refugees and displaced people around the world, with a special focus on children who have been separated from their families.

The 12-foot-tall puppet Little Amal reaches out a hand to greet fellow puppets in Belgium.
Little Amal (left) reaches out a hand to greet the Reuskens of Borgerhout in Belgium on her first journey, "The Walk," in 2021. Photo credit: @Moestuin123.

Little Amal is a 12-foot-tall puppet of a 10-year-old Syrian refugee child. She has become a global symbol of human rights — especially those of refugees — and soon, she might be coming to a city near you. 

Between Sept. 7 and Nov. 5 of this year, Little Amal will walk across the United States in one of the largest free public festivals ever created. Amal, created by the Handspring Puppet Company, made her first international journey in 2021 as part of a global initiative called “The Walk.” The initiative aimed to raise awareness about the plight of refugees and displaced people around the world, with a special focus on children who have been separated from their families. Little Amal's journey was not just about covering miles but about covering hearts with empathy, compassion and understanding.

“The Walk” was about more than just raising awareness; it also aimed to inspire tangible action. Advocates for refugees used this opportunity to call for policy changes, support for resettlement programs, and an end to the discrimination and hardships faced by refugees worldwide.

When Little Amal visited Westminster Cathedral in 2021, Cardinal Vincent Nichols shared that he was moved to welcome her into his community. When reflecting on the event, Nichols said, “Well, it’s very strange, actually. Half of me says, ‘come on, this is a puppet.’ And half of me found myself speaking to her. So there’s something very creative in what we saw … It wasn’t just a puppet – though it was – but it kind of embodies a whole dimension of our human family that is traveling lost, at risk and in danger. And yet still with the kind of innocence that you would expect of a young child. So I think there was a strong emotional presence and a pull that somehow, in her gestures particularly, was expressed. I think that touched everybody.”

Amal’s walk across America will take her to over 35 towns and cities, visiting some of the country’s most iconic sites and natural landscapes that are uniquely and synonymously American. Along the way, more than 1000 artists and other creators will host local events that reflect their unique communities, welcoming Amal as she passes through on her 6,000 mile journey. In addition to this Walk Across America, Amal has visited 15 countries, including Turkey, Greece, Italy, France, the U.K., Poland, Ukraine, Canada and Norway.

Little Amal’s journey begins this weekend in Boston, where she will spend a few days making friends, exploring the city and throwing the first pitch at Saturday’s Red Sox game. Her event-filled trek is expected to conclude in San Diego on Nov. 5.

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