During the third day of his tour of Brazil, Prince Harry admitted being “overwhelmed” after listening to the stories of children faced with extreme poverty when visiting a social programme by charity Association for Support of Children at Risk (ACER).
On Wednesday 25th June, Harry began his day in the Atlantic Rainforest where he showed his support for a conservation project. The project is being led by the Brazilian government and is aiming to re-house a number of communities from the local area in order to help protect the rainforest and plant new saplings. The Prince enthusiastically joined in with the planting of new trees and joked that by being a member of the royal family he was used to such occasions and said: “Planting trees – it’s what we do”.
The project’s co-ordinator, Eduardo Trani, stated that he was quite shocked that the Prince got so involved in the hard and dirty work when planting the trees. Trani said: “I didn’t think he would get so involved in the tree-planting…He said he liked the way the children got involved in the projects, so if people learn to take care of the environment they won’t destroy it”.
Harry continued his visit by helping to paint a wall of a villager’s home. He then joined Brazilian chef David Hertz in a cooking demonstration, where the Prince sampled a dish of caponata. After the demonstration, Hertz commented: “He really liked the caponata, he had two mouthfuls and I was really surprised because we were told he wouldn’t eat anything…He said he likes cooking so I gave him a cookery book as a gift”.
After this visit, Harry donned Brazil’s football team’s colours when visiting a centre for unprivileged children in Diadema, where he played a game of football with a number of the children there. The centre is run by the charity Association for Support of Children at Risk, which is a programme aiming to offer education, cultural and artistic courses for local children who face extreme poverty. The charity is run by Briton Jonathan Hannay.
After playing football, Harry took his time to speak to some of the children and their families about their moving experiences who have been helped by the charity. When speaking to the press after his visit, the Prince said: “I was completely overwhelmed and shocked. I’ve never blubbed in public as far as I can remember but I was pretty damn close. It was amazing to hear those stories”.
After meeting two girls, who are being cared for by their grandmother as their father is in prison and their mother was murdered, the Prince commented: “There are two little girls – I’m quite emotional – just looking at them I wanted to talk about my own experiences”, referring to his mother’s passing almost 20 years ago.
“But there is no point because it is just so far removed. The bravery of them looking at me, smiling at me. I wanted to use my own experiences in a very small way to try to give them a bit of understanding about the fact that I see what you’re going through. But you hear the stories and think that’s nothing to what they have been through”.
Later on in the evening, Harry attended an honorary birthday party reception for his grandmother, Her Majesty The Queen, at the British Consulate in São Paulo. The reception, which was put on to recognise The Queen’s official birthday which occurs every year in June, was attended by the British Ambassador for Brazil Alex Ellis, the Mayor of São Paulo Fernando Haddad, alongside a number of Brazilian celebrities, including Victoria Secret model Alessandra Ambrosio. During the celebrations Prince Harry showed off a few of his football skills to guests in the reception hall and also met São Paulo’s oldest resident, 102 year old Gertrude Viger.
Photo credits: @byEmilyAndrews, Royal Correspondent for The Sun.