It just takes a single visit and you’re in love with the place and its people.The Duke of Sussex
Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen.
First of all I would like to thank the Greenwich Polo Club most sincerely for hosting this year’s Sentebale Royal Salute Polo Cup in these beautiful surroundings. We are once again indebted to Royal Salute, our loyal and unwavering sponsor, for enabling this latest in the string of victories for the Sentebale team...sorry Nacho, your day will come. To Peter and Stephanie Brant, and our other sponsors, a very special thank you as well.
Since we last played for the Cup in Brazil a year ago, Sentebale has taken great strides forward, both in its work on the ground in Lesotho and in developing a coherent and exciting strategy for the future. More of this in a minute.
Whilst Sentebale may be evolving rapidly, the situation on the ground in Lesotho remains critical. The HIV pandemic continues to leave thousands of children without parents and family structures to guide them through life. Without this support, basic needs such as food, shelter and care remain unmet, leaving children vulnerable and very often without much hope in their lives.
Having said that, when I visited Lesotho in February, I was again struck by the extraordinary resilience and courage of the children of the Mountain Kingdom. It just takes a single visit and you’re in love with the place and its people. That is why, today, I reaffirm my commitment to helping the vulnerable children and young people of Lesotho.
Sentebale has been working to help and support some of the most vulnerable children in Lesotho for more than 7 years. We’ve learnt a lot and worked closely with the Basotho people, and with government and grass roots organisations, to address the critical needs of the children.
We have developed the Mamohato Programme, which provides network clubs and week-long camps for children living with HIV. By working with the children, providing education, care and support, building knowledge and confidence, this generation can look forward with hope and live healthy and happy lives.
Recently, I had the privilege of meeting some children who have taken part in the programme. They very clearly show how the experience has given them renewed confidence, a stronger peer network and the ability to manage their health. The little things like hygiene kits, pill boxes and their shared experience make such a difference to the children facing these challenges.
Our plan now is to build a permanent Mamohato Children’s Centre outside Maseru, the capital of Lesotho. This will allow us to help four times the number of children that we are currently able to do. In time, we intend to take our Mamohato programme into other southern African countries, using the expertise gained by carers and medical workers trained at our Centre of Excellence in Maseru.
This is the last day of my tour around the United States. It has been a wonderful week, throughout which I have witnessed the extraordinary generosity of the people of this great Nation. Ladies and Gentlemen, I urge you to come and see our work in Lesotho and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the support you are giving us today, which will enable that work to continue.
I hope you have a lovely day at the polo, watching my friend Nacho Figueras now a stalwart ambassador for Sentebale try to get his own back.