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Little Amal
Photograph: Abigail Montes

This giant puppet of a refugee girl will be at the New York Public Library this week

Her name is Amal and she's in New York following a 5,000 mile trek through Europe.

Anna Rahmanan
Written by
Anna Rahmanan

UPDATE 9/14: Following her arrival at John F. Kennedy airport today and her following visit to the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning, Amal is scheduled to appear by the steps of the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue tomorrow between 3:30 and 5pm. 


New Yorkers, meet Amal: a 12-foot-tall puppet of a 10-year-old refugee Syrian girl inspired by a character in the Off-Broadway play The Jungle, presented at St. Ann's Warehouse in Brooklyn back in 2018.

Photograph: David Levene

Set your calendars because Amal is scheduled to come to New York City (her very first trip to the United States!) and visit all five boroughs from September 14 through October 2. Her journey will culminate with a visit to the State of Liberty in early October. 

Amal's trip will follow a 5,000-mile trek through Europe and it will bring her face to face with a slew of our very own civic leaders, cultural institutions (Lincoln Center, the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the Brooklyn Children's Museum, among others) and even public school children.

The life-like puppet has become an international symbol of human rights, specifically highlighting the plight of refugees. Designed by the Handspring Puppet Company of South Africa, Amal has spent the past year traveling all around Europe, including to Poland and Ukraine, where she met children and families who had fled the war zone. 

Photograph: Andre Liohn

To see Amal in the "flesh," you'll have to go St. Ann's Warehouse, the performing arts theater at 45 Water Street in Dumbo, where the puppet will anchor a three-part series of productions that champion the importance of embracing immigrants. The Jungle will actually make its return on premise in February.

Photograph: Ignac Tokarczyk

According to the New York Times, Amal is operated by a total of three people (including one person on stilts) and she is extremely delicate: her arms and upper body are made of bamboo canes and she "has needed plenty of maintenance over her months of travel." 

After all, how would you feel following a hike of thousands upon thousands of miles across multiple countries?

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