By Tim Saunders on
Plans have been announced for Prince Harry to undertake special training with an international charity organization based in Britain.
The Prince attended a reception for MapAction, of which he is Royal Patron, at Parliament Square in London on October 10, to celebrate 50 successful missions carried out by the non-Governmental organization.
MapAction, which was founded in 2003, is dedicated to creating maps during natural disasters that highlight the areas where medical attention is needed most. It also pinpoints important logistical and transport facilities, such as working bridges, undamaged roads, and potential landing sites for helicopters. Volunteers in the field update the maps hour-by-hour, enabling aid agencies to do their job of delivering assistance where it can save lives and relieve suffering.
“We are hoping the Prince may be able to deploy with us,” said Roger Wedge, a spokesman for the organization. “There may be some difficulties with that, but we’re training him up.”
Wedge went on to say that Prince Harry will attend a training weekend in the near future, and will be taught the skills required to operate in foreign countries.
“It’s an idea we’d like to think is possible,” said a spokesperson for the Prince. “Harry would love to go.”
The 23 year old Prince became Royal Patron of the charity in April 2007, after becoming extremely interested in the role of MapAction and its work in disaster emergencies. The organization deploys volunteers to disasters all over the world, and has recently operated in the Caribbean during Hurricane Dean, as well as in the September floods in Ghana, which killed 6 people and affected 260,000. They have also completed successful missions during disasters in Kenya, Indonesia, Tajikistan, Suriname, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
As well as MapAction, Prince Harry is also patron of a number of other charities, including WellChild, which provides care and support for sick children and their families, Dolen Cymru, an organization that promotes friendship and understanding between the people of Wales and the people of Lesotho, and Sentebale, a children’s charity set up in 2004 during his visit to Lesotho. By coincidence, Lesotho is also the location of MapAction’s first ever field mission in 2003.
“MapAction’s volunteer ethos and innovative use of new methods and technologies to meet humanitarian needs has caught the Prince’s imagination,” said David Spackman, Director of MapAction. “As a young Army officer, the importance and use of maps will be second nature to him. We hope the Prince’s support will be an asset in raising the charity’s profile.”
Copyright © 2007 Look to the Stars