Solidarity, integration and respect for human dignity are the three principals guiding the Grand Duke Henri and the Grand Duchess Maria Teresa Foundation in its activities.
Created in 2004 by the merger of Grand Duke and Grand Duchess Foundation with the Prince Henri – Princess Maria Teresa Foundation, the Grand Duke Henri and the Grand Duchess Maria Teresa Foundation aims to help people in Luxembourg as well as disadvantaged areas of the world.
The royal couple’s former charity, the Prince Henri – Princess Maria Teresa Foundation, was founded in 1981 on the occasion of their wedding, and was “dedicated to supporting people with specific needs in order to facilitate their integration into society.”
In 2001, upon Grand Duke Henri’s accession to the throne, the new foundation was born. Today, the organisation gears its activities toward helping children, the physically or psychologically challenged, and those requiring social assistance.
According to the foundation, it has three objectives:
- To respond to requests for assistance and help made to Their Royal Highnesses the Grand Duke and the Grand Duchess by residents of Luxembourg who were not able to have their requests satisfied through the public institutions within the existing legal or budgetary framework or when public assistance can not be given quickly enough to meet urgent needs.
- To allow people resident within the territory of the Grand Duchy or abroad who have a physical, psychological, mental or social disability to live with self-respect and human dignity and to facilitate their integration into society, notably through scholastic or professional training and by including them in social and cultural activities.
- To contribute financially to development projects and humanitarian aid in other countries.
Each year, the foundation helps around 50 families in Luxembourg with emergency financial assistance such as rent or other costs.
In 2016, the foundation organised the first International Forum on learning disabilities at the European Convention Center. Since then, a multitude of initiatives and conferences have been launched by the foundation, as well as the www.dysfocus.lu site. This informational platform gives parents, children, teachers, and professionals in the learning disabilities sector a range of useful tools.
In terms of international outreach, some of the foundation’s projects have included working with Maison Shalom getting minor children out of prison in Burundi, aiding refugees in Rwanda, and supporting the “rainbow” project of the Juniclair Foundation in Lebanon, a small business that gives Syrian and Lebanese women an income and a purpose.
Last year, the foundation launched Stand Speak Rise Up!, a two-day event that brought together 1,200 people including 50 sexual violence survivors from 18 countries. The initiative was created to allow survivors, experts, and the public to join together to share ideas and solutions to combat sexual violence in fragile environments.
For more information on the foundation or make a donation, visit its website.