The Neighbourhood Organization



Little Amal: The Scents of home

My father was 13 when he started walking on foot from the Kham region in Eastern Tibet across the Tibetan Plateau and over the snow-capped Himalayas into Nepal and later into India. He said there had been about 600 of them when they started, walking by night and fighting/hiding by day and it took them almost a year to reach India on foot. They left Eastern Tibet in 1959, and it was in 1960 that they finally reached India where Tibetan Refugees were allowed to enter by the Indian government; only about 250 of the 600 had survived.


As a child born to refugees in exile, I never faced the same struggle that they faced, whatever I did, paled in comparison to what they had been through. I didn’t know any refugees other than Tibetans growing up. It was only when I arrived in Canada, that I met many more. In the Non-Profit field, I experienced the lives of all the refugees I encountered on a daily basis and working with them was where I found my calling which is why, when I heard of Little Amal, I was sad yet very excited.

Who is Little Amal? A 12-foot puppet of a 10-year-old Syrian refugee child, a puppet designed and built by Handspring Puppet Company.

Walk with Amal Toronto is produced by The Walk Productions and Luminato Festival Toronto and is now an international symbol of compassion and human rights. She carries a message of hope for displaced people everywhere, especially children who have been separated from their families. She is a reminder to all of us, to never forget the plight of refugees, especially children.

On May 31st, we had the wonderful opportunity to host an activity day to create beautiful Monarch Butterflies-as Julian said- a symbol of migration.


The butterflies, fragile and sensitive creatures travel far and wide and show much resilience similar to refugees. It was wonderful to see about 220 newcomers, refugees and seniors who joined us at the Thorncliffe Hub to create beautiful works of art. We can’t wait to join the rest of the community in welcoming Little Amal this Friday.

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