Sweden’s Princess Madeleine is shedding light on a difficult topic in the hopes of preventing the abuse and exploitation of children worldwide.
The royal mom of two recently unveiled a new app that will equip adults with the skills and resources necessary to recognize, prevent and respond to child sexual abuse.
The World Childhood Foundation – which Madeleine’s mother, Queen Silvia, founded – partnered with the non-profit Darkness to Light and telecommunications leader Ericsson to launch the “Stewards of Children Prevention Toolkit”.
Madeleine, who attended an important panel discussion on the rights of children at the United Nations on Friday, spoke exclusively with PEOPLE about her commitment to help children all over the world.
“It was a big day to be at the UN, addressing this issue. We’ve come far. When my mother founded WCF 17 years ago, nobody talked about these children and nobody really wanted to recognize that this problem existed. To be at the UN speaking about this group of children was really important,” she tells PEOPLE.
The royal, 34, says that she was inspired to follow in her mother’s footsteps after watching her work with children as a young girl.
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“When she traveled with her work, she met many children in difficult situations. And she always talked and told us these stories about these kids when I was young and it affected me a lot. I felt that I wanted to do something as well to help and to help her,” she says.
“When you have your own kids, you understand and realize how vulnerable children are. Every day, I try to protect them and want to create a stable surrounding. There are so many kids out there who don’t have parents, who live on the street – we have to help all the children out there,” she says.
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And with the new app, Madeleine hopes more adults will join her in the fight.
“It’s a good tool. I think some parents don’t want to talk to their children about [this issue] because they don’t really know how to. This is a tool for them to recognize the signs [of abuse] and how to react.
“We have to raise the awareness.”