OHIO — Ohio is welcoming a giant puppet that’s symbolizing the plight of refugees across the world.

They call her Little Amal, a giant, 12-foot puppet of a 10-year-old Syrian refugee girl. She crossed the Suspension Bridge from Covington, Kentucky to Cincinnati, with thousands of school children and others welcoming her along the way.

What You Need To Know

  • Amal is a 12-foot tall puppet meant to portray the plight of a Syrian refugee girl

  • Amal is operated by three puppeteers and has traveled to across 13 countries

  • Amal's Ohio tour includes stops in Cincinnati, Columbus and Akron

  • Amal has visited more than a million people around the world 

“We wanted to do it to celebrate the journey that people make to come to the Cincinnati region and make it home,” said Bryan Wright of Cincinnati Compass, one group that helped to bring the puppet to Ohio. “It’s just been wonderful to see not only immigrant refugee communities come out but people to support and say, ‘I want be a welcoming person and make Cincinnati a welcoming place.’”

People like Holly Brians Ragusa, who made a bridge and brought her friends to help.    

“I want to be here to represent the love in the world towards all humanity and make awareness for people in need and lifting each other up,” she said. “I wanted to build this bridge to encourage people to be the bridge make sure we all carry each other across.”   

Mayor Pureval welcomed Amal to the Ohio side of the river,  The plight of refugees hits close to home for him and his family.

“My mom was born in Tibet and she and my grandparents were forced to flee Tibet when the communists took over,” he said. “She made her way all the way to India, where she grew up as a refugee.”

His family ended up here in Ohio, like so many others.

“Cincinnati being a stop for little Amal really represents our willingness to be welcoming and open to refugees and immigrants and displaced people,” Pureval said. “It really is what makes not only Cincinnati special but this country.”

Cincinnati isn’t Amal’s only stop in Ohio. The puppet is also traveling to Columbus and Akron this weekend as part of a six-thousand mile tour of the U-S, from Boston to San Diego. Amal has already traveled across 13 countries, meeting more than a million people.