A speech by Prince Harry at the third annual Lesotho Links Conference, Cardiff

Published 05 June 2008

I don’t need to tell this audience how amazing Lesotho is or how incredible the people are.

Prince Seeiso, ladies and gentlemen.

It is a very great pleasure to be able to visit this third annual Lesotho Links Conference as I was lucky enough to visit last year’s at Windsor, and I know from the team at Sentebale just how useful they are.

I’d like to thank the Welsh Rugby Union, who sit on my brother’s and my Charities Forum with both Sentebale and Dolen Cymru, for  providing this amazing venue for this year’s Conference.

Last year I was most honoured to become the Patron of Dolen Cymru, and this morning I was lucky enough to gain a real insight into their work through visits to two of their link projects here in Cardiff.  I went to the Cardiff & Vale Trust, where I met medics and health professionals who are involved in Lesotho, and also a very special young man called Sandro Cairns: Sandro has Downs Syndrome and has spent some time in Lesotho as part of Mencap Cymru’s own Lesotho Link.

I also went to Cathays High School where I met a group of young people involved in fundraising for a school in Lesotho. There are over 200 schools in Wales with links to Lesotho and as a result over 10,000 young people have learned about Lesotho – a number that grows every day.

In 2004 in my own Gap year I spent 10 weeks volunteering in Lesotho on a variety of projects. It was one of the most satisfying experiences of my life, and it opened my eyes in so many different ways.

I don’t need to tell this audience how amazing Lesotho is or how incredible the people are. And as you all know, if you’ve ever heard a group of Basotho children sing you simply can’t turn your back on them.

Through Sentebale Prince Seeiso and I are trying to create an organisation capable of offering support to community projects. So much of the best work with children in Lesotho is done at the grass roots level by amazing people – mostly women – who have taken up the challenge of providing the love and care that the children need. Sentebale works to help them write funding proposals, make plans and spend money accountably.

It’s not easy work, and it takes time, but we’ve got some very hard-working people working for us and we’re committed to it. For me, that commitment began with a trip just like the one which these guys are taking this October. That’s why this link work is so important, and that’s why it’s great that they are going to the Mountain Kingdom. I’ll now hand over to Almanita, Cheriann, Joseph and Jack who I’m sure will do a much better job than I’ve done.

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