The opening of Sentebale's Mamohato Children's Centre


Prince Harry attended the official opening of a landmark centre helping African orphans and other vulnerable youngsters, launched by his charity Sentebale

As Sentebale's £2 million Mamohato Children's Centre was opened in the African nation of Lesotho, Prince Harry movingly described his own experience of bereavement - something many of the children helped by his organisation are living with.

His Royal Highness’s first visit to Lesotho in 2004, as part of his gap year, inspired him to set up the charity Sentebale with Lesotho's Prince Seeiso to help youngsters in need and other children who had lost one or both parents to Aids or contracted the disease themselves.

It was during the 2004 visit that Prince Harry met Mutsu who was just four years old. The prince and Mutsu struck up a special friendship during that first meeting at the Mants'ase Children's Home in Mohale's Hoek.

Prince Harry gave Mutsu, who helped him plant a tree during a photocall, a pair of bright blue wellington boots, which the youngster refused to be parted from at the time. Since then, Mutsu has been part of Sentebale's scholarship programme and has also benefited from residential care and financial grants.

Mutsu, now 15 years old, and The prince have stayed in touch and met several times over the years. They were reunited again at the Mamohato Children’s Centre official opening.

Speaking about the orphans Prince Harry told the guests gathered at the centre's opening ceremony: "They were far younger than me, and of course, their situation was a great deal more challenging than my own.

"Nonetheless, we shared a similar feeling of loss, having a loved one, in my case a parent, snatched away so suddenly. I, like them, knew there would always be a gaping hole that could never be filled."

"For so many of the children in Lesotho, that situation was compounded by the harsh environment and extreme poverty they faced. At the age of just eight or nine taking on the responsibility of caring for brothers and sisters there was simply no time for being a child anymore."