Welcoming Little Amal to Old Trafford
Manchester United Foundation was privileged to welcome Little Amal to Old Trafford this week, as she arrived in Manchester to complete her 5,000 walk from the Syria-Turkey border.
Little Amal, a 3.5m puppet, was created by Handspring Puppet Company in collaboration with Good Chance Theatre Company, to represent a nine-year-old refugee girl, forced to leave her home and travel across Europe to seek asylum. ‘The Walk’ follows Amal’s journey to find her mother, and she represents millions of displaced children, who are more vulnerable than ever during the global pandemic.
Little Amal’s journey culminated in Manchester on Wednesday 3 November, where she settled into her new home with help from children involved in the Manchester United Foundation.
Pupils from Foundation partner schools, St. Alphonsus RC Primary School in Stretford and Waterhead Academy in Oldham, welcomed Little Amal to Old Trafford, where they invited her to join in games and gave her a tour of the stadium.
Kaya, a nine-year-old pupil from St. Alphonsus, said: “I got to shake her hand and I told her that she was beautiful. Me and one of my friends gave her a United scarf and she really liked it. It was just a good day of my entire life.”
On Tuesday, Amal was also given a taste of school life in Greater Manchester as she was invited to the Foundation’s latest partner school, Kingsway Park in Rochdale.
Nick Bradshaw, primary school assistant manager for the Foundation, said: “It was amazing for the pupils; they were all amazed as soon as they saw Little Amal arrive and enjoyed getting involved with her.
“The message is really important; we welcome a lot of refugees to Manchester and we work in schools with many students of similar backgrounds, so it gives everyone that knowledge and awareness of what some children have to struggle with.”
Manchester United Foundation joined The Walk initiative through its partnership with Manchester International Festival, who hosted the finale event at Castlefield Bowl on Wednesday evening. Participants from the Foundation’s Street Reds programme closed the event by joining Little Amal for a game of football with Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata.
For more information about Manchester United Foundation and our work with young people, please visit mufoundation.org.