Prince Harry has written a heartfelt letter to the Halo Trust, a charity his mother Princess Diana also supported, amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
Harry thanked the charity, which has 8,500 staff in 25 countries and territories, for their incredible work and continuing to remove landmines despite the challenging situation.
The royal wrote, according to Hello!: “In these trying times, hope comes from the light of our common humanity. Nowhere is that light burning brighter than at the Halo Trust. As countries closed their borders, lockdowns came into force and international travel became harder, many might have chosen to suspend operations. Instead, Halo kept open a presence in all 25 of its country operations.”
The Duke of Sussex, who visited a partially cleared minefield in Angola with the charity in September, continued: “Halo might just have stuck to its core role, but I would also like to salute you for pivoting so quickly to meet the challenges unexpectedly presented by the pandemic.”
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Following in the footsteps of his mother, Princess Diana, this morning The Duke of Sussex visited a de-mining site in Dirico, Angola, to raise awareness of the danger and prevalence of landmines that still exists today. The Duke joined @thehalotrust in their work to help clear the area to enable safe access for the local community. • “If an international ban on mines can be secured it means, looking far ahead, that the world may be a safer place for this generation's grandchildren.” – Princess Diana, 1997 Today in Angola The Duke of Sussex will retrace his mother’s steps to see the legacy of her work and how her connection with this community helped make the elimination of landmines a reality. In 1997 Diana Princess of Wales visited Huambo to bring global attention to the crisis of landmines and the people whose lives were being destroyed. Two decades later, the area has transformed from desolate and unhabitable to lively and vibrant, with colleges, schools and small businesses. The Duke is humbled to be visiting a place and a community that was so special to his mother, and to recognise her tireless mission as an advocate for all those she felt needed her voice the most, even if the issue was not universally popular. Princess Diana’s visit helped change the course of history, and directly led to the Convention against Anti-Personal Landmines, also known as the Ottawa Treaty. Today, with the support of @thehalotrust, Angola now has a stated aim under the Treaty to be clear of known mines by 2025. Despite great progress, 60 million people worldwide still live in fear of landmines every day. During his visit today, The Duke will walk along the street which was once the minefield where his mother was famously pictured. #RoyalVisitAfrica #RoyalVisitAngola Photo©️PA
“The fact that you can operate across conflict affected countries like Afghanistan is also a precious resource in the face of a disease that recognizes no frontlines,” he shared.
“It is at times like this that the work and efforts of people like you – prepared to do whatever it takes to help, serve and protect others – shines through. In sometimes hazardous and dangerous situations, your commitment to your communities and people who need your help is remarkable. I am hugely proud to be able to support such an extraordinary organization.”
James Cowan, Halo’s CEO, said: “It is very thoughtful of the Duke to write to Halo staff in this way. Not many people realize we do more than landmine clearance. In responding to COVID we have the skills and equipment to respond. And above all we can operate in some very dangerous places with the trust of the local people.”
The charity has also been providing ambulances, logistics and PPE to medical authorities in Zimbabwe, Somalia, Libya, Afghanistan and Guinea-Bissau amid the pandemic.
Harry wore a protective vest and headgear during his trip in September, just like his mother did back in January 1997 when she visited a minefield in Huambo.