Migrant puppet Amal lands in Bari for refugee rights

From Gaziantep in southern Turkey near Syrian border across EU

07 September, 18:12

    (ANSAmed) - BARI, SEPT 7 - A puppet named Amal representing a nine-year-old Syrian refugee girl and 34 million other refugee children arrived Tuesday in the Torre a Mare port in Italy's southern city of Bari.

    The puppet had departed from the Turkish city of Gaziantep near the Syrian border.

    Welcomed by a "grandmother" in papier mache made by Putignano-based Domenico Galluzzi, the puppet will be taken around Europe as part of "The Walk" project, the largest travelling festival dedicated to refugee children ever, with the Italian production by Roberto Roberti and Ludovica Tinghi.

    The aim is to raise awareness about protecting human rights in general and children's rights in particular, as well as migrant reception and the culture of diversity.

    Then idea, British producer David Lan said, who is accompanying Amal on her journey, came to him in Calais five years ago in the refugee camp widely known as 'The Jungle'.

    There, he said, the idea of embarking on this journey for human rights came to him, saying that he and the others involved want to do something as artists and not as politicians in order to make people feel safe. He added that they were very pleased to be in Bari and noted its welcoming atmosphere.

    After leaving in late July from Gaziantep, the puppet, created by the Handspring Puppet Company and three and a half meters tall, crossed Turkey and Greece "on foot" prior to arriving in Bari, its first stop in Italy.

    It will continue its journey of over 8,000 kilometers in search of its "family", towards the UK city of Manchester, where it will arrive on November 3 after crossing France, Switzerland, Germany and Belgium.

    The stop in Bari will focus on migrant reception and was organized by the Teatro Pubblico Pugliese under Teresa Ludovico and will begin from the Torre a Mare port, in which in 1087 Bari sailors arrived with the relics of San Nicola.

    "Puglia has historically played a large role in the reception of foreign, unaccompanied minors, and even the dramatic Afghan emergency has our region in the frontline for reception. This is why the choice of disembarking Amal in Bari is especially important for us," said Ludovico Abbaticchio, ombudsman for the rights of children and adolescents for the Puglia region in welcoming the puppet into the port.

    On September 9 the travelling show of "The Walk" will be in Naples and in Rome on September 10, where it will be in St Peter's Square near the Angels Unawares sculpture, a work in bronze by Timothy Schmalz that depicts a group of migrants inside Bernini's Columns.

    Welcoming the puppet will be Cardinal Michael Czerny and Monsignor Benoni Ambarus.

    There will be a party held for children of different Rome churches for the occasion and a refugee minor hosted in a Rome Caritas facility will speak about their experiences.(ANSAmed).

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