The HALO Trust today announced that Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex, spoke with two staff members of The HALO Trust based in Ukraine, who are leading efforts to educate Ukrainians on how to recognise and avoid explosive devices they may come across as the conflict in Ukraine evolves.
Prince Harry, who has continued his mother’s legacy of involvement with HALO, thanked them for ‘saving lives everyday.’ Additionally, The HALO Trust was grateful to receive a contribution from Archewell Foundation, co-founded by Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, to HALO’s education efforts in the Ukraine.
Prince Harry met virtually with Olesia and Maryna, two women who are full-time employees of The HALO Trust in Ukraine, along with 430 other Ukrainian men and women. Despite the war forcing them both to flee their homes, they have been able to continue their work to keep people safe from explosives through a major digital media campaign that has been seen by over 17 million Ukrainians. Both women have helped drive the campaign over Instagram and TikTok, ensuring that young people, who are most at risk through their natural curiosity, are aware of the lethal hazards of unexploded ordnances.
Olesia is 23 years old and from Kharkiv, but was forced to flee her home with her family in early March. She is HALO Ukraine’s Communications Manager and has found temporary refuge in a hotel with her parents and sister in the southwest of Ukraine.
Maryna is 25 years old and HALO’s Monitoring and Evaluation Officer. Maryna supported her colleagues at HALO’s Ukraine headquarters to assist refugees and casualties in the city. Many HALO staff are specially trained to be first responders to the type of injuries most commonly seen in Ukraine, such as blast and fragmentation injuries, which can result in internal bleeding, open wounds, broken bones, amputations and eye injuries. HALO staff are using ambulances equipped with trauma kits and medical supplies to support the needs of the civilian population. This assistance extends into hospitals and shelters, and to training others.
During the call, The Duke praised the work of The HALO Trust and its ability to share life-saving messages during the conflict, now entering its fourth week. ‘You guys are saving lives every single day. I mean, you’re part of HALO, so that’s exactly what you signed up to do.’ He added: ‘I know that you’re going to continue doing the work that is so desperately needed for HALO, for your families and your country.’
The HALO Trust was founded in Afghanistan in 1988 and now employs 10,000 men and women in 28 countries and territories either at war or recovering from conflict. HALO has cleared over 1.9 million landmines, 1.5 million pieces of unexploded ordnance and 10 million bullets in the last three decades. It has conducted life-saving mine clearance operations in eastern Ukraine since 2016.
The HALO Trust is currently setting up an urgent crisis hub in Western Ukraine, where Ukrainian staff will be able to continue their work in safety, delivering urgent risk messaging to communities and planning how it can map and survey the different types of weapons being used in the conflict, their location and their quantities. This is the essential before the safe delivery of aid and the start of clearance operations.
The United States is the world’s largest donor for programs that remove landmines, unexploded hazards, and other dangerous weapons left by war. The American people have contributed more than $250 million per year for this cause, becoming HALO’s largest supporter.