"Little Amal," a 12-foot-tall puppet of a 10-year-old Syrian refugee girl, walked through Brooklyn streets on Monday, reports The Brooklyn Eagle. She visited Coney Island, Brooklyn Academy of Music in Fort Greene, The Brooklyn Public Library and Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Since 2021, "Little Amal" has become an international sensation. She has visited a dozen countries symbolizing children fleeing persecution.
"Little Amal" comes to New York City as a part of project Little Amal Walks NYC, co-produced by DUMBO's St. Ann's Warehouse and The Walk Productions. The puppet is one of the largest public art projects in city history. And, between September 14 and October 2, Amal will be welcomed at 55 events across the five boroughs.
Stuyvesant Heights resident Tunisia Rawles came to The Plaza at 300 Ashland Pl. to celebrate Little Amal’s arrival. This stop was sponsored by the BAM, Two Trees and the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership.
“We just forget about how children are separated from their parents. I imagined myself at the age of 10, being hysterical if that ever happened to me. I wouldn’t know where to go, what to do,” Rawles said.
“[Amal is] a reminder to not forget about the people who are displaced. It’s more than just a puppet, it’s the whole symbolism, and you can’t help but feel moved. It makes me want to be a better person. We are all trying to help Amal, and we should be helping others as well."
Hearing the "Little Amal" refugee story made tears come to her eyes, Rawles added.
"Little Amal" was designed by the Handspring Puppet Company of South Africa. Her personality is modeled on a child refugee depicted in the theatrical production "The Jungle," written by Joe Robertson and Joe Murphy.
The play’s characters are based on real people in a French refugee camp. St. Ann’s Warehouse brought the production to Brooklyn. Critic reviews raved over the piece and St. Ann’s will be bringing back "The Jungle," in February 2023.
“We knew Amal as our little girl character representing all children in "The Jungle" production about a refugee camp in Calais, France,” Susan Feldman said. Feldman is the artistic director of the St. Ann’s Warehouse.
“I knew we had to bring her to New York. I felt we needed her here in this country to remind us to be kind and welcoming to people in need, especially children.”
Hundreds of well-wishers greeted "Little Amal" at each stop and followed her, gazing and clapping as she traveled.
“I’ve been following "Little Amal" for a while now. And I think it’s a very meaningful story, especially under these circumstances that we are at in the world right now,” Isidora said. Isidora lives in Ditmas Park but is originally from Chile.
“I think bringing her to New York, a place that is so diverse, sends a very strong message to our community.”
To see where "Little Amal" is visiting next, go here.