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People attend the "Little Amal" show at Trocadero in front of the Eiffel Tower Paris, France, Friday, October 15, 2021.
Copyright  Rafael Yaghobzadeh/Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

This giant puppet is walking in the shoes of a young refugee crossing Europe

By Scott Brownlee

Last Friday, Little Amal - a 3.5-metre-tall puppet of a young refugee girl - met with children at an event at Place du Trocadero near the Eiffel tower in Paris, France.

‘The Walk’ is an art initiative that began in July of this year in the hopes of bringing global attention to the plight of millions of young refugees, representing all displaced children who have often been separated from their families.

The 8,000 kilometres project is travelling across Europe via Turkey, Greece, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, and France, before ending in the UK in early November.

Rafael Yaghobzadeh/Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved
People embrace Little Amal in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, Friday, October 15, 2021.Rafael Yaghobzadeh/Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved
GONZALO FUENTES/REUTERS
People gather around Little Amal at Trocadero in front of the Eiffel Tower Paris, France, Friday, October 15, 2021.GONZALO FUENTES/REUTERS
GONZALO FUENTES/REUTERS
People gather around Little Amal at Trocadero in front of the Eiffel Tower Paris, France, Friday, October 15, 2021.GONZALO FUENTES/REUTERS
Sylvain Lefevre/Sylvain Lefevre / Hans Lucas
Little Amal strolling through the streets of the city of Grande-Synthe near Calais, France, Friday, October 17, 2021.Sylvain Lefevre/Sylvain Lefevre / Hans Lucas

Throughout her journey, Amal has been welcomed by hundreds of cultural events in cities and towns across Europe, bringing together celebrated artists, major cultural institutions, community groups and humanitarian organisations.

Following her visit to the city of lights, Amal made her way to Bray-Dunes beach near Calais.

This was in preparation for the same cross-Channel journey taken by thousands of people every year seeking refuge from conflict, hunger and persecution.

ABACA/ABACA
Little Amal arrives at Bray-Dunes beach in Normandy, France, Friday, October 17, 2021.ABACA/ABACA
Amal made her way to Bray-Dunes beach near Calais, in preparation for the same cross-Channel journey taken by thousands of people every year.
Sylvain Lefevre/Sylvain Lefevre / Hans Lucas
Joined by other giant puppets, Little Amal looks out at the English Channel from Bray-Dunes beach near Calais, France, Friday, October 17, 2021.Sylvain Lefevre/Sylvain Lefevre / Hans Lucas
Sylvain Lefevre / Hans Lucas
Joined by other giant puppets, Little Amal looks out at the English Channel from Bray-Dunes beach near Calais, France, Friday, October 17, 2021.Sylvain Lefevre / Hans Lucas

Over the next two weeks, ‘The Walk’ will embark on its final leg, travelling from Kent in the south of England, up to the northern city of Manchester.

Led by Artistic Director Amir Nizar Zuabi, ‘The Walk’ is “a cultural odyssey transcending borders, politics and language to tell a new story of shared humanity – and to ensure the world doesn’t forget the millions of displaced children, each with their own story, who are more vulnerable than ever during the global pandemic.”

DENIS BALIBOUSE/REUTERS
Little Amal in front of the European headquarters of the United Nation, in Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021.DENIS BALIBOUSE/REUTERS
VATICAN MEDIA/REUTERS
Little Amal is welcomed by the Pope at the Vatican, September 10, 2021.VATICAN MEDIA/REUTERS

The Little Amal puppet was designed by the Handspring Puppet Company, known for its award-winning design of the puppets of the long-running West End play, War Horse.

Amal’s journey has been an extraordinary artistic endeavour, which has sparked conversations about migration and offered a sense of humanity for the thousands of displaced young people trying to find their way in Europe.

‘The Walk’, which began in late July, has seen Amal walk from Gaziantep, on the Turkish-Syrian border, across Europe and it will culminate in a public event in Manchester on November 3.