‘Little Amal’ arrives in Brussels from Syria via 8,000 km migration route

‘Little Amal’ arrives in Brussels from Syria via 8,000 km migration route
Credit: Théâtre National Wallonie-Bruxelles/Twitter

Little Amal, a 3.5 metre-tall “living artwork” of a young Syrian refugee girl, arrived in Brussels on Wednesday afternoon after a long journey from the Turkey-Syria border.

The large puppet represents the millions of displaced children worldwide, and is making the 8,000 km journey across Europe to the United Kingdom to raise awareness of the challenges faced by refugee children.

“It is because the attention of the world is elsewhere right now that it is more important than ever to reignite the conversation about the refugee crisis and to change the narrative around it,” Amir Nizar Zuabi, Artistic Director of The Walk, said in a statement.

“Yes, refugees need food and blankets, but they also need dignity and a voice,” he said. “The purpose of The Walk is to highlight the potential of the refugee, not just their dire circumstances.”

Amal’s journey started in July 2021, and she already crossed borders in Turkey, Greece, Italy, France, Switzerland and Germany before arriving in Belgium. From Brussels, she will make her way to the UK, where she is set to arrive in November.

Little Amal is 3.5 metres tall because the organisation wants “the world to grow big enough to greet her,” the statement reads. “We want her to inspire us to think big and to act bigger.”

The puppet gets its name from ‘The Jungle,’ an award-winning play from Good Chance Theatre, which was based on the stories that the theatre’s founders Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson encountered when they created their first ‘Theatre of Hope’ in the 2015 Calais refugee camp in the north of France.

Little Amal appeared as a character in ‘The Jungle’, representing the hundreds of unaccompanied minors who were separated from their families in Calais.

In Brussels, a number of activities are planned around Amal’s arrival, including a dance performance, called ‘Chased’, taking place at the Abattoirs in Anderlecht, and a meeting with the Children’s Choir of La Monnaie on Thursday.

More information on Amal’s walk can be found on the initiative’s website: walkwithamal.com

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