Little Amal’s inspiring journey reaches New York City


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Carla Paz, Contributor

Since the beginning of the Syrian conflict in 2011, 6.8 million people have been forced to flee Syria to avoid war, many of which have taken shelter in New York City. To remind the public about the plight of refugees around the world, Little Amal, a 12-foot puppet of a 10-year-old Syrian refugee girl, has journeyed through the Middle East and Europe and has now made her way to NYC. 

Little Amal was taken from the play “The Jungle” and created by the Handspring Puppet Company, whose mission with this project is to ensure that the public does not forget about the millions of refugee children and their stories. Her journey started in 2021 when she was nine years old on the Turkey-Syrian border and in only one year, she has passed through 12 different countries. 

Her story is a representation of what many refugees have endured: getting separated from their families, having to leave their country and everything they’ve ever known. Little Amal’s 12-foot stature alone is meant to make people pay attention to her. It makes people who haven’t heard her origin story curious and eager to find out what her purpose is, thus bringing awareness to the global refugee crisis.

Little Amal’s arrival begins her 17-day, 55-stop journey throughout the five boroughs of NYC. Little Amal started her trip in NYC at John F. Kennedy Airport on Sept. 14, where she was greeted with “Satyagraha,” sung by the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra’s children’s chorus. In each of her stops, Handspring Puppet Company has reached out to the community in order to create an unforgettable experience for both children and adults. When Little Amal visited the Brooklyn Public Library, the company and library hosted a read-along of the book “Julián is a Mermaid.” During her time here, she has already visited Time Square, Grand Central Terminal and Central Park. She has also been a part of a few events like salsa dancing in Washington Heights and drumming in Jackson Heights.

All of the Little Amal events are free to the public and for all ages. If students want to catch Little Amal while she’s in the city, there are several opportunities to do so listed below. For a full event calendar of Little Amal’s walk through NYC, click here

On Sept. 28 at 1:00 p.m., she will be visiting the Tenement Museum on the Lower East Side. From there, she will head over to the Clemente Soto Vélez Center at 4:00 p.m., where she will be greeted by other puppets created by Teatro SEA. She will continue her walk with her newfound puppet friends through the East Village, ending in Washington Square Park. On Sept. 30, she will meet with families of victims of 9/11 – this event is in partnership with September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows. On Oct. 1, she will visit the Charging Bull on Wall Street at 1:00 p.m., before ending her journey in Brooklyn on Oct. 2.