Britain’s Prince Harry attended a fundraising gala dinner organised in neighbouring South Africa for his Lesotho charity projects as he wrapped up his three-day visit to southern Africa.
The funds will be used to build a permanent centre for children and youths orphaned and infected by HIV and AIDS. The centre will enable the services to widen four fold the numbers of children currently cared for.
During a tour of the projects in Lesotho earlier in the day the third-in-line to the British throne found time to perform traditional dance moves with children. It was his return visit to the southern African kingdom.
On the last day of the tour, the 28-year-old stopped by schools for deaf and blind children in and around the capital Maseru.
He watched fascinated as students at St Bernadette’s Resource Centre for the Blind played a football match unassisted, and chatted with pupils afterwards.
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” he asked a boy dressed in the school’s khaki-coloured uniform.
“A soldier,” he replied in Sesotho, the local language.
“I’m a soldier myself. I’ll tell you what that is like next time,” said Harry, who returned in January from a five-month tour in Afghanistan as an army helicopter gunner.
The royal was also shown how to use some of the braille equipment at the school – the only institution for blind children in the tiny mountain kingdom.
His NGO Sentebale pays for 60 percent of the centre’s running costs, where all 68 pupils board full-time.
Harry set up Sentebale in 2006 with Prince Seeiso, the younger brother of King Letsie of Lesotho, in memory of their late mothers.
Its name means “forget me not” in Sesotho.
The organisation supports children infected with HIV and AIDS, as well as those orphaned by the virus or with disabilities.
Earlier in the day the royal visited the Kananelo Centre for the Deaf in the nearby town of Buasono, where around 70 students cheered his arrival.
He took part in a traditional dance with them, though the locals coyly admitted that the flame-haired royal messed up the moves.
Some children also performed a mini-theatre production in sign language to show off the skills learnt at the centre.
The prince learnt a few simple sign language words like “father” and “mother” and tried his hand at baking mokoenya, a traditional sweet bread, while wearing an apron with teddy bear print.
Sentebale carries most of the institution’s overheads, contributing around 350,000 maloti ($40,000, 30,000 euros) a year.
It teaches the national curriculum in sign language and also trains life skills in the impoverished country.
The prince was given a violin-like musical instrument, traditional straw hat, and cloth blanket as gifts.
On Tuesday he rode a helicopter to the remote Mokhotlong region in the north, where Sentebale is building schools for cattle-herding boys.