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Prince Harry extends his compassion in Botswana

Publishing Date : 07 August, 2018

Author : DAVE BAAITSE

The Sentebale team was in Botswana this week concluding the third week of Winter Camp for vulnerable children and young people in Gaborone. During the three weeks, a record 183 campers attended camp from the remote areas of Maun and other villages in the district.


The week long residential camps provide life- saving psychosocial support to 10-19 year olds living with the virus, by sharing the tools and knowledge they need to live physically and emotionally. The team also announced that The Duke of Sussex as Prince Harry is known, will attend the AIDS 2018 Conference with Youth Advocates from Sentebale's Let Youth Lead Programme in southern Africa.


 In June The Duke made a private visit to Lesotho to meet with children and young people involved in Sentebale's Programmes of education and care providing the tools and knowledge the vulnerable generation needs to live long, happy, healthy lives in future. The action of breaking barriers and building bridges was convened in Amsterdam.


Sentebale is a charity founded by The Duke of Sussex and Prince Seeiso in 2006 following Prince Harry’s gap year to Lesotho in 2004. The foundation helps the most vulnerable children in Lesotho and Botswana get the support they need to lead healthy and productive lives. Sentebale works with local grassroots organizations to help these children – the victims of extreme poverty and the HIV/AIDS epidemic.


Their mission is to work in partnership to transform positively the lives of the world’s most vulnerable children. The charity also wants to become the leading organization in the provision of psychosocial support for children living with HIV in Southern Africa. In 2004 Prince Harry, 19, went travelling on his gap year. He had a fantastic time in Australia, Argentina and Botswana but in the end the thing that had the greatest impact on him was the two months he spent working in Lesotho. The Duke was lucky enough to have an amazing guide in Prince Seeiso.


“His knowledge and compassion for his country showed me that there could be a way of making a difference in Lesotho that would go far beyond the building projects I worked on”, said Harry. He met so many children whose lives had been shattered following the death of their parents – they were so vulnerable and in need of care and attention. He says as they travelled round Lesotho they saw the same thing — great work being done in the community by amazing volunteers who weren’t able to attract support, because they didn’t have professional managers or accountants to show where the money was going.


To highlight the issues facing Lesotho, they arranged to make a documentary called “The Forgotten Kingdom”. “Prince Seeiso and I decided that we could make a long- term difference by starting a charity that could direct funds to the grassroots organizations, which were taking so much of the strain but finding it hard to get help”. They came up with the name Sentebale, which means “forget- me- not” in Sesotho, the language of Lesotho, and the idea seemed perfect.


This charity is a way in which Prince Seeiso and Harry can remember their mothers, who both worked with vulnerable children and people affected by AIDS. “I really feel that by doing this I can follow in my mother’s footsteps and keep her legacy alive”, he said. Harry is a member of the British royal family. He is the younger son of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Diana, Princess of Wales, and is sixth in the line of succession to the British throne.


In 2007 Seeiso and Harry opened their office in Lesotho so that they can work directly with grassroots organizations to transform the lives of children and young people. The British media writes that anyone who gleefully sat down last November (2017) to watch Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s first joint interview after their engagement knows all about the special meaning that Botswana has in their relationship.


In August 2017, Harry took Markle to Botswana, where they had first visited weeks after they began dating in July 2016. It was Markle’s 36th birthday, and there were rumblings that the two might get engaged on this trip. Nicholl writes that the pair spent three weeks traveling around; Harry showed Markle his favorite spots, including Meno a Kwena, where he took his ex- girlfriend, Chelsy Davy, in 2007. 

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