Little Amal is making a big impact in The Big Apple!
During her journey Wednesday through New York City, the 12-foot-tall puppet made her live studio world debut on the Emmy Award-winning daytime talk show, "The View."
Created in 2021, the puppet represents a 10-year-old Syrian refugee from Aleppo searching for her mother. In Arabic, Amal means "hope," and the hope behind the larger-than-life puppet is to make sure nobody forgets about the children fleeing war, violence and oppression around the world.
It's estimated that Little Amal has reached more than 1 million people in-person with her artistic and commanding presence, traveling over 5,500 miles and visiting over 12 countries. She began her journey on the Syrian-Turkish border, then crossed Turkey, Greece, Italy, Belgium, France, Germany, United Kingdom, and even visited refugee children in Lviv, Ukraine.
Little Amal towered over "The View" co-hosts and audience alike as she entered the studio. She was joined by Artistic Director Amir Nizar Zubai, who's the brains behind the international symbol of human rights.
"We wanted to create a project that honors this long journey across Europe that refugees take," Zubai said. "Knowing the problem of refugees is an ongoing problem in the world caused by climate change, wars, conflict, and we wanted to create a project [that] honors them, but is also theater."
Little Amal was built by the Handspring Puppet Company in Cape Town, South Africa, which also is responsible for the puppetry behind the play "War Horse." It took approximately five months to make Amal, and requires the internal puppeteer to stand on stilts that are over 3-feet tall. The internal puppeteer controls the movements for her legs, head and face, while two additional puppeteers take on her arm movements.
She is operated by nine rotating puppeteers, Ashley Winkfield, Craig Leo, Ben Thompson, Seb Charles, Fidaa Zaidan, Barges Smahneh, Nicole Baker, Yukari Osaka and Mouaiad Roumieh. Puppetry Director Enrico Dau Yang Wey told ABC News that she will often adopt different personalities depending on who is with her.
"Our puppetry team is magnificent and well experienced by now because we have been walking for more than a year," Zubai said on "The View." "It's been phenomenal to be with her."
On Sept. 14, Little Amal landed at JFK Airport. Visiting all five boroughs during her 17-day visit in New York City, she will attend 55 free and public events to show her "solidarity to immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers everywhere, not only Syrian," Zubai said. "She tells a story of all children that are like her.
One of the events Little Amal attended was at The Bronx Children's Museum, where Bronx native and co-host Sunny Hostin serves on the board. "Amal visited us and the children responded in the most positive way," Hostin told Zubai.
The last opportunity to see Little Amal in New York will be on Sunday in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Learn more about Little Amal's epic journey across the globe.
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