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Hundreds turn out to see Little Amal meet Alice in Oxford

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Little Amal meets Alice in Oxford
Little Amal and Alice at Oxford’s iconic Broad Street

Hundreds turned out to see Little Amal meet Alice in Oxford earlier today, before joining in an outdoor procession through the city centre.

Little Amal – a young 9-year-old refugee girl in the form of a 12-foot tall giant puppet – representing all displaced children, many separated from their families, arrived in Oxford earlier today.

Little Amal meets Alice outside the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford
Little Amal and Alice outside the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford

Little Amal (the name means ‘hopes’ in Arabic) is on a remarkable journey from the Syria/Turkey border, across Europe, to Manchester as part of The Walk – a journey that echoes the one undertaken by many refugees seeking sanctuary in the UK.

Little Amal arrived in Oxford this afternoon and was met by Alice – The Story Museum’s giant puppet at the Oxford Botanic Gardens just off the High Street.

The pair embrace on Cornmarket
The pair embracing on Cornmarket

The pair walked down High Street to Catte Street before joining Broad Street by the Weston Library. At the end of Broad Street, the procession travelled down Cornmarket and then onto St Aldate’s before heading into Christ Church Meadow.

Hundreds joined the pair on the tour of Oxford in an outdoor procession through the city centre. There was a carnival-like atmosphere to the possession – with various short performances along the route as part of this travelling festival of art and hope in support of refugees.

Little Amal at one of the performances along the route
Little Amal at one of the performances along the route

The possession ended with a dance performance as Christ Church Meadow, where Amal waved goodbye to Oxford before embarking on the next leg of her journey to Coventry, Birmingham, Sheffield, the Peak District and then Manchester.

The pair at Christ Church Meadows
The pair at Christ Church Meadows

Led by Artistic Director Amir Nizar Zuabi, Little Amal’s epic journey titled ‘The Walk’ is presented by Good Chance in collaboration with the Handspring Puppet Company (the world-famous creators of War Horse).

Amir said: “When you start an 8,000 kilometre journey during a pandemic, you’re bound to have challenges, but for the most part, we’ve been welcomed. Logistically it’s been a big challenge to coordinate with everyone involved.”

People gathered at Christ Church Meadow
People gathered at Christ Church Meadow

Whilst Little Amal’s journey continues beyond Oxford, the impact of her visit will continue thanks to a project called ‘Beyond Amal’ between The Story Museum and local charity Asylum Welcome. The ‘Beyond Amal’ programme offers training in oral storytelling, developing communication skills, confidence, resilience and other transferable workplace skills.

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