Prince Harry Pens Heartfelt Letter to Princess Diana's Key Landmine Charity
“In these trying times, hope comes from the light of our common humanity,” Prince Harry wrote
In a heartfelt letter to all 8,500 staff of The HALO Trust released Tuesday, the Duke of Sussex expressed his admiration for the workers' "dedication and determination" in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
“In these trying times, hope comes from the light of our common humanity,” Prince Harry, who moved to Los Angeles with wife Meghan Markle and 1-year-old son Archie in March, wrote to the charity staff. Diana famously supported by making an iconic minefield walk in Angola during a visit to the country in 1997.
“Nowhere is that light burning brighter than at The HALO Trust," he added.
Along with continuing to risk their lives clearing landmines in countries such as Afghanistan, Somalia and Libya, HALO workers have recently helped provide education, ambulances, hygiene kits and PPE to local medical professionals battling COVID-19 in the same countries.
Harry paid tribute to this “pivot” by praising HALO’s ability to keep working in all 25 different countries, regardless of the dangers.
"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,” wrote Harry.
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“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," he continued.
“The fact that you can operate across conflict-affected countries like Afghanistan is also a precious resource in the face of a disease that recognises no frontlines.”
Harry, 35, was just 12-years-old when his mother bravely set foot on a minefield in Huambo, central Angola – a move which directly led to an international treaty to ban the weapons. He has since visited minefields with the HALO Trust in Mozambique in 2010 and Angola in 2013.
In September 2019 he also visited the exact site his mother walked with HALO — now a vibrant community, with several colleges, schools and small businesses - following in her brave footsteps by walking across a minefield and remotely detonating a mine.
“It has been emotional retracing my mother’s steps along this street 22 years on and to see the transformation that has taken place," Harry said about the visit, which took place during his tour of southern Africa with Meghan and Archie.
"The work of de-mining is dangerous, expensive and laborious," he added. "I have the utmost admiration and respect for all who do this hazardous work and risk their lives in service of their community.”
In his letter to the HALO workers, Harry continued this message of support, which is also built upon his experience of visiting Dirico in Southern Angola in 2019 to witness how landmine clearance can help protect wildlife in one of Africa’s largest remaining wildernesses.
“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," he wrote.
"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 organisation.”