Another step forward
World-famous Syrian refugee puppet Little Amal treks through Austin
One of the world's most famous traveling art projects has chosen Austin as her next destination.
Little Amal — who is actually quite big, standing at 12 feet tall — has become well-known wandering around as a Syrian refugee, constituting a project called "The Walk." It's not just her size that catches people's eyes, but the way she moves. The puppet is taking "walk stops" in an 11,000-mile journey across the United States and Mexico. She has been traveling since 2021, when she made her debut at the Syrian-Turkish border.
Austin receives the puppet today, October 20, and she will depart for San Antonio the next day.
Amal represents displaced children — something that weighs even more heavily on the global conscience right now as multiple conflicts dominate headlines. UNESCO estimated this summer that, "By the end of 2022, a record 43.3 million children lived in forced displacement ... many of them for their entire childhood." That number included around 3 million Ukrainian children, and was counted before this October's sudden displacement of 1.1 million people living the Gaza Strip, as reported by the United Nations' Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Of course, Texas has another stark angle to consider: the impact of crossings at the Texas-Mexico border. U.S. Customs and Border protection has counted 123,541 encounters with unaccompanied or "single" minors at the Southwestern border this year through August.
Although Amal will represent something a little different to everyone, there are ways to come together and participate in her visit as a community:
- 5 pm: Get ready, get steady, DANCE! — Amal gets a checkup and joins a dance class in partnership with Interfaith Action of Central Texas (iACT), Austin Refugee Roundtable, Huston-Tillotson University, and Ballet Austin.
- 6:30 pm: An honor of bravery from Bat City — Amal meets bats and learns how to navigate life during dark times.
Community members are also invited to donate to the Amal Fund with Choose Love, which provides displaced children with necessities like food, shelter, and legal support.
More information about Little Amal’s Walk Across America is available at walkwithamal.org.