BRITISH Prince Harry worked up a sweat on Tuesday as he carted wheelbarrows of cement mixture, filled a ditch and hammered nails from old roofing boards.
The young royal was helping refurbish a school for mentally and physically disabled children under the auspices of a charity he founded in the impoverished African kingdom of Lesotho in memory of his late mother.
Asked if Princess Diana, known for her charity work around the world, would be proud, he said simply: “I hope so.”
Harry and his regiment from the Household Cavalry were helping put in wheelchair access, build a new kitchen and lay fencing around the Thuso Centre.
“I love physical labour,” he said at the start of a three-week visit. “It would be wrong to be a patron of a charity and not get involved.”
The centre in a dusty village among the rocky hills of Lesotho is the only special needs school in the country, and has few facilities.
Together with Prince Seeiso of Lesotho, Harry started the Sentebale charity to help the countryâ€™s children.
“Itâ€™s about the vulnerable children.”
“Itâ€™s been massively rewarding,” Harry said as he showed reporters around on Tuesday, his khaki trousers dusty with red dirt. “The changes I see are fantastic. This is about the children of Lesotho, the vulnerable children of Lesotho.”
The African trip by members of the Household Cavalry has been planned for some time, but the decision to help the project in Lesotho was suggested by Harry. The affable 23-year-old first visited Lesotho in 2004, when he met young tuberculosis and Aids sufferers.
Harry and his regiment put in eight hours a day working on the centre, occasionally getting in a game of football with local villagers.
“They are working so hard,” said Monuku Mofilikoane, principal of the centre.
Violet Moqolobane (44), a disabled woman who works at the centre, was impressed to see the tall, redheaded Harry taking part in both games and work.
“Most chiefs donâ€™t act like him,” she said. “They think they are so important.”
Pootsela Tseisa (24), said Harry was behaving as true royalty should. “He loves us. We are one for him, not black or white,” he said. “This is a good example that we should follow. It doesnâ€™t matter how rich or how wealthy your family is.”â€“â€“ News24.com.