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Crown Princess Mary pays working visit to Ethiopia



Crown Princess Mary paid a working visit to Ethiopia earlier this week, visiting the African country with the Danish Minister of Development, Ulla Tørnæs, in a trip that focused mainly on girls and women and gender equality issues.

The Crown Princess’s visit began on Tuesday in the capital city of Addis Ababa. She paid a visit to a fertility clinic and a reproductive health centre before visiting the Ethiopian Parliament to discuss women’s issues.

Ethiopia is noted for having women in more leadership positions in their Parliament, including the President of the Parliament, the Supreme Chairman, and the Head of the Election Commission.

On Wednesday, Crown Princess Mary visited Shire which houses a large refugee population, to meet with young people who have been supported by the Danish Refugee Council.

The Danish Refugee Council works with “humanitarian, development and peacebuilding activities to ensure a dignified life for refugees, the displaced, and displacement-affected people and communities in more than 30 countries,” according to its website.

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I går ankom H.K.H. Kronprinsessen til byen Shire i regionen Tigray, hvor én af Etiopiens største flygtningebefolkninger befinder sig. Her mødte Hendes Kongelige Højhed både en gruppe skoleelever, der har fået bidrag fra Dansk Flygtningehjælp, og en gruppe uledsagede mindreårige, der udgør en stor beskyttelsesudfordring i de etiopiske flygtningelejre. De mindreårige er ofte flygtet alene med henblik på at blive genforenet med familiemedlemmer, der i nogle tilfælde flygtede for flere år siden. Onsdagens besøg var sidste del af Kronprinsessens besøg i Etiopien sammen med udviklingsminister Ulla Tørnes. Her har Kronprinsessen og ministeren i to dage besøgt det østafrikanske land med fokus på FN’s femte verdensmål om ligestilling mellem kønnene. 📸 Ida Marie Odgaard, Ritzau Scanpix ©️

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Crown Princess Mary later uploaded photos she had taken to the Danish Royal Family’s Instagram account so that she could share her thoughts on what she’d seen.

“Life in a refugee camp should not only be about survival,” Crown Princess Mary wrote.

“One must also have the opportunity to develop. The cooperation between the Danish Refugee Council, the Norwegian Refugee Council and local authorities has made it possible to build a school for children and young people from the refugee camp Hitsats and from the local host community for the benefit of all.”

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Etiopien fik sidste år sin første kvindelige præsident, og i aftes havde hun inviteret H.K.H. Kronprinsessen og udviklingsminister Ulla Tørnæs på middag i anledning af deres besøg i det østafrikanske land. Med høje ambitioner på særligt ligestillingsdagsordenen satte Etiopiens premierminister sidste år et nyt ministerhold, hvor der er lige dele kvinder og mænd. Den etiopiske regering har ambitioner om at skabe lige muligheder på det sociale og økonomiske område, og kvinder markerer sig i stigende grad som iværksættere og virksomhedsledere. I den forbindelse besøgte Kronprinsessen og udviklingsministeren i denne uge Etiopien. Besøget havde fokus på FN’s verdensmål 5 om ligestilling mellem kønnene og kvinder og pigers rettigheder og muligheder.

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Crown Princess Mary continued that “It is important that refugee children and youth can continue their schooling despite the flight and the break-up from their home country. Education provides hope and is the key to pursuing your dreams.”

Another photo, of a young mother named Beri who has fostered refugee children in spite of fleeing from Eritrea to Ethiopia with her own three children, highlighted the realities of life in a refugee camp for Crown Princess Mary.

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”Jeg blev dybt rørt og ydmyg over at møde Beri. En kvinde, som er flygtet fra Eritrea til Etiopien med sine tre børn. Mange uledsagede børn er kommet alene over grænsen til Hitsatslejren, og det har givet ekstra udfordringer at sikre beskyttelse af disse børn. En af løsningerne har været at finde plejefamilier blandt flygtninge. På trods af, at hun er eneforsørger for sine egne børn, har Beri fundet et stort medmenneskeligt overskud til at påtage sig rollen som værge for to uledsagede børn – børn der stod helt alene i verden. De børn mødte mig med stor nysgerrighed, og det vidnede om tryghed. Beri er kvinden på bagerste række, nummer to fra højre, og her ser vi hende sammen med sine fem børn og naboen og hendes børn. Tak, fordi De ville følge med.” 📸 H.K.H. Kronprinsessen ©️

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“Many unaccompanied children have come across the border of the Hatsats camp alone, and it has provided additional challenges to ensure the protection of these children,” she wrote.

“In spite of being the sole parent of her own children, Beri has found a great companionship to take on the role of guardian of two unaccompanied children – children standing alone in the world.”

Last November the Danish government decided to help “promote democracy, fight poverty, and create sustainable growth” in Ethiopia over the next five years by spending 1 billion kroner with UN initiatives and Kenyan partners, according to the Copenhagen Post Online.

Crown Princess Mary previously visited Ethiopia in 2015, in partnership with the Danish Refugee Council, of which she is the patron.



About author

Jess is a communications professional and freelance writer who lives in Halifax and has a passion for all things royal, particularly the British Royal Family.