Little Amal arrived in Birmingham as part of her New Steps, New Friends tour to mark World Refugee week. Supported by Birmingham City Council and in partnership with Active Arts, the 3.5 metre puppet of a 10 year old Syrian girl refugee is a symbol of resilience and hope for those forced to flee their homes.
It is Little Amal’s second visit to Birmingham after making a trip to Erdington in October, but this is the first time she has come to the city centre where she was given a huge welcome. You can see all the action at the video at the top of our story. Here’s a selection of what the people who met her said.
Rachael Thomas, Executive Director of the Birmingham Rep, says: “So Little Amal, who is the Syrian 10 year old refugee girl puppet. She’s a symbol of hope. She represents, I think, the universal refugee experience. Through the eyes of a child.”
Jayne Francis, Cabinet Member Digital, Culture, Heritage and Tourism for Birmingham City Council, says: “Birmingham welcomes refugees. We’re a city of sanctuary. So this morning we’re really, really pleased, as are all the children that are gathering in the square, to welcome Little Amal that’s a puppet - a very cleverly made puppet - that’s walked for a long time. So we’re absolutely delighted to welcome little Amal to Birmingham”
Little Amal initially travelled 8000km from Syria through Europe as part of a travelling art festival called “The Walk” last year. The puppet was created as a representation of a displaced refugee child fleeing from war and separated from her family. Little Amal is visiting Birmingham for the first time as she journeys through England, visiting 11 towns and cities marking World Refugee Week.
Shamsun Choudhury, Project Coordinator for Saathi House, says: “The importance of Little Amal coming is to give everybody an insight of you know, how all the refugees have come from, you know, all the Commonwealth countries, you know, etc. And it’s important to see her come here. So it represents all women, all refugees from all over the world. And it’s just great for us to be part of it.”
Sharing her message of hope and friendship beyond colour and creed, Little Amal received a warm welcome from Brummies as she visited the diverse city. Representing the millions of refugee children separated from their families, her urgent message to the world is simply “Don’t forget about us”.
A message from the editor:
Thank you for reading. BirminghamWorld is Birmingham’s latest news website, championing everything that is great about our city - reporting on news, lifestyle and sport. We want to start a community among our readers, so please follow us on Facebook,Twitter and Instagram, and keep the conversation going