More than 50,000 people turned out in Guadalajara and Zapopan Tuesday and Wednesday to welcome Amal, a 12-foot-tall puppet of a Syrian refugee child that has become a global symbol of the struggles of refugees.
Amal has already traveled to 15 countries and been seen by more than a million people. Mexico is her first stop in Latin America as she journeys through the continent.
Amal, whose name translates to “hope” in Arabic, began her visit Tuesday on the city center’s Paseo Alcalde, before finishing her walkabout in the Plaza Tapatia, where a large crowd had patiently awaited her arrival.
The aim of the semi-animatronic puppet is to draw attention to the problems that Syrian refugees and others around the world, especially children, face every day. Children comprise almost 40 percent of the 110 million people worldwide who are forcibly displaced, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Designed and built by the South Africa-based Handspring Puppet Company, the globe-trotting puppet began her travels—the project is known as “The Walk”—in June 2021. She has interacted with people from all walks of life, including celebrities, sports people and political and religious leaders. She met with Pope Francis in the Vatican in September 2021.