What a difference we can make if we all work together.The Duke of Sussex
Thankyou, Prince Seeiso
Thank you to everyone here tonight for showing your support. It's hugely appreciated.
One in three children in Lesotho are orphans and this small country has the third highest infection rates of HIV in the World. At times, the severity of extreme poverty can be overwhelming. However, it is through the dedication, passion and commitment of the Sentebale team, our community partners, local government the children's longing to learn and you here tonight that we are able to battle with these issues and giving these children a chance of a happier future.
In 2004, I visited a young girl called Mpolokeng and she was five years old at the time when I met her and her mother whilst up in Mokhotlong where my dear friend lives. At the time her mother was HIV+ and sadly passed away shortly after my visit. Her daughter was left to care for herself and her siblings.
In February last year, I saw her again and am glad to say that Sentebale has been supporting her ever since I first met her and provides her with a bursary to attend secondary School. This bursary only costs £250.
That really is a small price to pay, to change a little girl's life in my mind and I'm sure in most of your minds as well. She is one of many and when I see or hear the difference that Sentebale and its partners have made in the last 10 years, it is a constant reminder that not only are we doing great things in this little African Country, but how much we rely on the help and expertise of everyone around us. What a difference we can make if we all work together.
Tonight, is about recognising individuals and organisations that have worked tirelessly to ensure these children get the help in life they so dearly need. Without their care and encouragement none of our achievements to date would have been possible.
Together, we are working to transform the lives of thousands of vulnerable children within Lesotho. We are providing herd boys with an education, specialist care and support to those living with disabilities, a home for children for whom no other support exists and psycho social support to children living with HIV.
As you have heard from Prince Seeiso, we have started work on building the Mamohato Children's Centre, which will allow us to help four times as many children affected by HIV/AIDS by providing them with a safe place to receive clinical and psychological care. This year we helped 360 children this year, that number will become 1500 each year when this Centre is built.
In Lesotho, a little bit of help goes a long way, and you can see for yourself where your money is being spent and the big difference you are making. Take a trip down South and pop into Lesotho for a few days as I'm sure most of you have or plan to do. Some of my friends here tonight have done it more than once and they too now sponsor children. We have achieved a great deal over the past ten years, but we need the support from you tonight and in the future to ensure we reach our ambitious goals of helping many more vulnerable children.
It's now my great pleasure to announce the first award of this evening The Excellence Award. This is a chance to celebrate exactly what everyone has done over the past ten years for this amazing charity.
Back in 2008, We, 30 soldiers from the Household Cavalry armed with a small cheque, a lot of shovels and some paintbrushes, visited Thuso Centre. It is a grassroots organisation that provides care, education and vocational training to children living with mental and physical disabilities. The facilities then were limited and in poor condition, horrendous condition, and they lacked the specialist skills. Since Sentebale made its commitment to supporting Thuso it has transformed itself providing efficient and effective quality care to these children.
I am delighted to announce that the Thuso Centre as our award winners for The Excellence Award and I would now like to show you this short film that tells the story of lives that have been transformed through the centres work.