Lesotho kids give Prince Harry funny chalk portrait (Photos)

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With a toothy grin and prominent ears it may not be the most flattering Royal portrait. However, Prince Harry was delighted with the sketch on a South African classroom chalk board.

The prince bonded flawlessly with the children he met today at the Kananelo Centre for the Deaf in Lesotho, which is supported by his charity, Sentebale.

Sentebale, which works to help vulnerable children in Lesotho, is a cause incredibly close to the third-in-line-to-the-throne’s heart.

He set the charity up in 2006 with a member of Lesotho’s own royal family, Prince Seeiso, in memory of both their late mothers.

In Sesotho, the language of Lesotho, Sentebale means ‘forget me not’ and Harry hopes that in championing a small, forgotten and frankly unfashionable part of the world he is, in some way, continuing the work that was close to Diana, Princess of Wales’s heart.

Known as the Mountain Kingdom, Lesotho is a 11,000 square mile former British protectorate entirely surrounded by neighbouring South Africa which has a population of just 1.8 million, many of whom live in highland villages which can only be reached by foot or horseback.

It faces huge social and economic problems: more than 40 per cent of his inhabitants live below the international poverty line and it has the third highest HIV/Aids rates in the world.

Life expectancy for men and women is just 41 years, meaning the country has an increasing number of children orphaned by – and suffering from – the disease.

Recent studies suggest that there are more than 488,000 orphans and vulnerable children in Lesotho with 37,172 under the age of 14 infected with HIV.

Today the prince is visiting two projects helping some of the country’s most defenceless youngsters – the Kananelo Centre for the Deaf and the St Bernadette’s Centre for the Blind.

The Kananelo Centre is one of only two organisations offering schooling for deaf children in the country – where disability has, for many years, been considered ‘shameful’  – and currently boasts 85 pupils aged between five and 21.

The boarding school is run by nuns from the order of the Holy Family of Bordeaux and has been hugely helped by grants from Sentebale which have funded new dormitories and solar panels which are now used to heat its water.

At St Bernadatte’s Centre for the Blind, which cares for 70 children aged between six and 23, Harry is considered ‘an angel from the  heaven’ after helping to build dormitories for the children, who until then had been sleeping on the floor.

He also raised funds to build a wall around the school, which was open to the elements and plagued by theft, as well as buy them cookers, pots and pans.

Principle Mary Patisi, who was eager to show Harry the results of his work, said: ‘We love him so much, he is our treasure. What he has done for us here can never be repaid. The children adore him.’

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Segun Adekoye

Segun Adekoye

A rolling stone. A Netnerd. An idea laboratoire. I’m a strategist. Personal Blog. Follow me on Twitter @segunsd

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