A large puppet representing a Syrian refugee girl arrived in Geneva on Tuesday as part of a journey to raise awareness on refugee crises.
The puppet is 3.5 meters tall, and the journey, which is across Europe, is 8,000 kilometers long.
“Little Amal” began her journey on July 27 in the Gaziantep city in Turkey, near the border with Syria. “Amal” means ‘hope’ in Arabic
After Geneva, Amal will resume the journey towards her last station in the northern city of Manchester in the UK.
The puppet represents a 9-year-old refugee child seeking safety and searching for her mother, who never returned from trying to find food.
The Handspring Puppet Company created her to spread awareness about the unaccompanied refugee children’s dilemma.
Four people are operating Amal and bringing her to life; they are called ‘Puppeters’
One of them is inside the body and walking on poles, as well as operating a complex set of strings that control the puppet’s facial expressions.
Two others operate the arms, and another one supporting the back.
“We are artists, so we create emotion, empathy, to try and make things change,” said Claire Bejanin.
Bejanin is the producer of Amal’s journey in France, Germany, Switzerland and Belgium.
“We encourage children from all over the world to write letters for children like Amal,” she continued.
She added, “We used the tools we have, which are images, beauty, art and different communities.”
Alicia Minardi, a nine-year-old child who visited the gathering outside the UN HQ with her school, found it mesmerizing.
“I’m happy and sad. Happy because for me and my classmates, everything is great,” she said.
“But I’m sad because there are a lot of children for whom it’s very hard to live like this,” she added.