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Photo © Chris Jackson

 

“In 2004 I was 19 and went travelling in my gap year. I had a fantastic time in Australia, Argentina and Botswana but in the end the thing that had the greatest impact on me was the two months I spent working in Lesotho.

I was lucky enough to have an amazing guide in Prince Seeiso. His knowledge and compassion for his country showed me that there could be a way of making a difference in Lesotho that would go far beyond the building projects I worked on.

I met so many children whose lives had been shattered following the death of their parents – they were so vulnerable and in need of care and attention.

Again and again as we travelled round Lesotho we saw the same thing: great work being done in the community by amazing volunteers who weren’t able to attract support, because they didn’t have professional managers or accountants to show where the money was going.

To highlight the issues facing Lesotho, we arranged to make a documentary called “The Forgotten Kingdom”. Prince Seeiso and I decided that we could make a long-term difference by starting a charity that could direct funds to the grassroots organisations, which were taking so much of the strain but finding it hard to get help.

We came up with the name Sentebale, which means “forget-me-not” in Sesotho, the language of Lesotho, and the idea seemed perfect.

This charity is a way in which Prince Seeiso and I can remember our mothers, who both worked with vulnerable children and people affected by AIDS. I really feel that by doing this I can follow in my mother’s footsteps and keep her legacy alive.

In 2007 we opened our office in Lesotho so that we can work directly with grassroots organisations to transform the lives of children and young people.”