“Amal” is a giant doll representing a nine-year-old refugee girl looking for her mother.
Amal will roam Europe on a journey that began in Turkey and will end in Manchester in November.
Who is behind creating this doll?
The idea of a giant doll that embodies refugees in their quest for safety and a better future in other countries has come to the mind of award-winning theatre directors who decided to implement it.
The Doll “Amal” arrives in Geneva on a trip to support refugee children
This comes as part of an 8,000 km journey through Europe to raise awareness of the crisis of young refugees.
The doll Amal began its journey on July 27 in Gaziantep, Turkey, near the Syrian border. After a stop in Geneva, Amal will continue her journey to her final stop in Manchester, northern England.
The doll represents a 9-year-old refugee girl looking for safety. And looking for her mother who has never returned since she went out looking for food.
Handspring company designed the doll for puppets to raise awareness about the crisis of refugee children.
How does it move?
Amal is moved by 4, one of them is inside her structure who walks on sturdy wooden stilts and manages a complex system of threads that control the puppet’s facial expressions.
Two are responsible for moving each arm and the fourth is supporting the back of the doll.
“We are artists, so we have passion and create empathy in trying to change things”
said Claire Pianin, who directed the doll’s career in France, Germany, Switzerland, and Belgium.
“We invite children around the world to write letters to children like Amal. Then we will deliver these messages to the European Parliament.”
How did children feel when they first saw it?
It was a sobering moment for the nine-year-old Alicia, who was on a school trip to visit the protest location outside the United Nations headquarters in Europe.
The girl said: “I am happy and sad. Happy because everything is great for me and my classmates, and sad because there are so many children who are suffering to have a good life.”
Giant doll Amal reached the city of Assisi in central Italy
Amal, the nine-year-old Syrian refugee girl who traveled Europe in a simulation of the journey of Syrian refugees, arrived in Assisi, Italy, for her first time.
“We decided to revive the journey that millions of people have gone through, as a kind of tribute to them. We decided that we wouldn’t do it in person. It has to be a kid who represents it like hundreds and thousands of young people. Who have made this journey in their quest of finding a safer refugee”
said Initiative producer David Linn.
On her long journey through Europe, Amal arrived in Assisi, where the first-ever gathering of religions took place in 1986, which was promoted by then Pope John Paul II.
Father Enzo Fortunato said: “If such children, like Amal, still exist in the world, it means that mankind has lost its way”.
“St. Francis taught us to accept leper, to be welcoming and to look at others better than ourselves, to learn from others, to turn to them and talk to them, even if they belong to a different religion or culture”
said Stefania Poretti, mayor of Assisi
Amal arrived in Britain.
The journey of “little Amal”, a wooden doll representing a nine-year-old Syrian refugee child, reached its final stage.
As she finally reached UK territory, after a long march that began on 27th July from the Turkish city of Gaziantep near the Syrian border.
By this time the doll would have traveled 8,000 Km on an epic 14-week journey through 8 European countries. Including Greece, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, and France.
Small Amal has passed the English Channel which tens of thousands of asylum seekers have passed many times fleeing conflict, war, and fear of prosecution and arrest.
The doll has raised the slogan
” Don’t forget us”
As a reminder to the world of the crisis of the immigrant and refugee children who have been separated or got lost from their families, and who may have made a similar, and even more dangerous, journey.
Amal received an outstanding welcoming when she set foot on the beach in the coastal town of Folkstone, her first stop in Britain
She was greeted by the famous actor Jude Law, along with a crowd of children who came to welcome the giant 3.5-meter-high moving doll.