The puppet Amal, mouthpiece for children in exile, stops in Calais before completing an 8,000 km journey

Her name is Amal, represents a Syrian girl and measures 3.50 meters high. This giant puppet, the mouthpiece of children in exile, began in July in Turkey a journey of 8,000 km which is due to end in Manchester these days after having crisscrossed Greece, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and France. On Sunday, she made a stopover in Calais, a major migratory transit point to England, before crossing the Channel to complete her circuit.

His odyssey, The Walk (La Marche), is intended to make Europe aware of the plight of migrants and in particular unaccompanied children or children separated from their families. With a message: “Do not forget me“, explains the British foundation Good luck theater, born in 2015 in the “Jungle” of Calais, at the origin of the project.

On the beaches of Hauts-de-France, facing the English coasts sometimes barely 30 kilometers away, Amal came to share Sunday the last ordeal of the migrants who flock there in the hope of crossing the Strait of Pas-de-Calais. .

Amal, the giant puppet representing a Syrian refugee girl, advances on a road in Calais (France) for the international project "The Walk", on October 17, 2021, before moving to Great Britain. & nbsp;  (FRANCOIS LO PRESTI / AFP)

It was welcomed near Vieux Fort-Nieulay by nearly 400 Calais residents, including many children and families, human rights defenders and associations, as well as some opposition politicians.

Mayor Natacha Bouchart (LR) refused to let Amal arrive on the beach facing the sea and cross the city, that’s why our neighborhood was chosen to welcome him as discreetly as possible“regrets Martine, activist of Secours Catholique.

Few migrants in the crowd. On the other side of the fort, they are more than 400 waiting for a distribution of meals.

The puppet was accompanied by a cloud of kites brandished by the children of the neighborhood, made in the scraps of tents of exiles seized during the regular dismantling of their camps by the police, to the sound of a choir and a traveling orchestra.

We realize what children like us endure who have to leave their country to go to England“, moved Quentin, a little boy present in the parade, near a large banner proclaiming”Every child has the right to play“(All children have the right to play).

Amal then had to wander in the evening near the Belgian border, on the beach of Bray-les-Dunes, before reaching the United Kingdom, not on a rubber dinghy but via the Channel Tunnel.

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