The puppet of a nine-year-old Syrian girl is due to arrive at Folkestone beach in Kent as part of a 5,000 km walk across Europe to raise awareness of the plight of refugees.

Thousands of people marched with Little Amal through towns and villages across Europe [Getty]

A giant puppet representing a nine-year-old Syrian girl will arrive in the UK on Tuesday, as part of a 5,000-mile hike through Europe to highlight the plight of refugee children.

Little Amal, a three-meter tall figure, will arrive at Folkestone Beach in Kent after leaving Gaziantep, near the Turkish-Syrian border, in July.

The same trip was made by more than 17,000 people seeking refuge in Europe this year alone.

The 14-week street theater event will end in Manchester on November 3 after Little Amal – whose name means ‘hope’ in Arabic – has visited many cities across the UK, including London, Birmingham and Sheffield.

“It was difficult, sometimes difficult, but also unbelievable and incredible,” said David Lan, one of the producers of the walk, at The Guardian.

“Marginalized people… see a representative of themselves… being celebrated… it’s very moving,” Lan continued.

The giant doll, operated by a team of eight puppeteers, has an entourage of around 30 who have navigated Covid travel restrictions in order to complete their trip.

They started in Turkey, crossing Greece, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and France and are expected to land in the UK this week.

Thousands of people walked with the doll through the towns and villages crossed by Little Amal.

Little Amal was even blessed by Pope Francis during her visit to Rome.

The puppet was received with open arms for the most part, but in Kalambaka, a village in northern Greece, the village council decided not to receive a “Muslim doll from Syria”, as the mayor described it.

“We tell people to remember that refugees are people. We hope that the memory of this strange and beautiful child walking in a village or town or in the mountains will help change the weather a bit,” Lam said.


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