Princess Sofia Undertakes First Solo Engagement in South Africa

  September 8, 2015 at 7:56 pm by

Swedish Princess Sofia has made her first solo overseas trip, representing the Royal Family at the Global Child Forum on Southern Africa held in Pretoria, South Africa on September 8.

View the full image at Getty Images

View the full image at Getty Images

The Princess delivered a keynote address at the Forum, which was also attended by Dr Graça Machel, widow of South African President Nelson Mandela and also patron of the Forum, and Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, chairwoman of the African Union Commission. In her speech, Princess Sofia spoke of her own experiences working with children in South Africa (through the organisation Project Playground), stating “I have seen a fair share of suffering, poverty and neglect. But I have also seen children’s eyes light up with hope.”

“I believe hope is justified…we are on the right way forward. Democracy spreading. Poverty diminishing. Literacy increasing…But there are menacing threats as well,” she continued, saying how it was vitally important that groups from all sectors collaborate to help children in need: “As long as children suffer we have work to do – as individuals and common commitment.”

Representatives from 15 countries in Southern African were present at the Forum.

The night before, Princess Sofia was hosted by Swedish Ambassador Anders Hagelbergat and his wife Lena for dinner at their residence. Sofia was questioned by the media upon her arrival, she spoke on the current refugee crisis that is happening in Europe: “I think that everyone can contribute in their own way and do something. I have a great belief that every individual can make a difference and help a fellow human being…The main thing is we do something.”

The Global Child Forum was established by King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia in 2009, then under the name World Child and Youth Forum. Several forums are held annually aiming to establish “dialogue and thought leadership on how to advance children’s rights in support of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.”

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