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Sure, Archie may be a few months old, but that doesn’t mean it’s too soon for him to start being philanthropic. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle quietly donated £4,350 in Archie’s name to the building of a pool in Guinjata Bay, Inhambane province, Mozambique, which sees an average of 12 drownings per year. The donation will help in teaching locals, especially children, how to swim.
Adam Knight, a swim coach, started the JustGiving.com fundraiser in an effort to help achieve his goal of teaching 200 children to swim and train swimming instructors.
“I said to my colleague, ‘That has to be Harry and Meghan,’” Knight told Harper’s Bazaar about the donation, which said was by “Archie HMW.” “We made some calls and were able to verify that it was from them, which is just incredible. Without that donation and support this would not be happening.”
Knight added that the staff was “blown away” by the gift, which was made last month.
Knight started working with the Love the Oceans nonprofit in 2018 with few resources to aid him in his mission.
“It was a little nerve-wracking going out [in the water] with just one other person, but I thought, “We’ve got a whole community of children that don’t know how to swim,” he said. “There’s a scuba diving resort with a swimming pool—let’s do something with this, let’s change things.”
In his second year of teaching, Knight has focused on safety and rescue work.
“For our second summer we were able to expand and focus on open water swimming, teaching rescue work, and CPR,” he added. “Every Saturday since we left, the group have continued with lessons.”
Thanks to Archie’s donation, next August will see the charity’s efforts go further with the opening of the successfully-funded swimming pool. The venue will provide a safe space to train, and means that local children won’t need to pile on the back of a truck for a 45-minute off-road drive to use a local diving resort’s pool, which is often not available anyway. “Having our own pool means we’ll be able to double the amount of swimming lessons and also help create paying jobs for the teachers we’ve trained,” explains Knight. “Swimming isn’t just a skill that ensures the safety of children and adults in the surrounding areas. It also provides employment opportunities in an area that thrives on marine eco-tourism and scuba diving trips, but has so many living below the poverty line.”
He adds, “Now that we’re able to go ahead with this, we will all be thinking of Archie when we open the pool next August. What started out as a passion project is now transforming a community and beyond.” Knight also hopes to extend the program to the rest of the country. “Initially this was a small project to help one specific village and community, but now we’re able to start thinking about the whole of Mozambique,” he says. “People there encounter water every day—instead of it being something to fear, we want to turn it into something that’s enjoyed and provides for them in even more ways.”
Love the Oceans has been working in Guinjata Bay since 2014 and relies on volunteers to protect and study the diverse marine life in the area, including numerous species of sharks, rays, and humpback whales. As a thank you for their recognition on the @SussexRoyal Instagram account in August, the organisation named one of their juvenile whale sharks after Harry and Meghan’s son.
Since the donation, Love The Oceans executive director Andrea Biden and Meghan have continued working together, with the duchess even connecting the organisation with the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation. The Monaco royal’s charity runs a successful program teaching children how to swim in communities across South Africa.
“What the Sussexes do is just incredible and I honestly can’t thank them enough,” says Knight, who is currently recruiting a team of instructors to join next August’s trip. “Bringing the next phase of this project to life for us means that we’re one step closer to making this program a sustainable community-led initiative, which was always the aim. As the saying goes, ‘Don’t give a man a fish, give him a fishing rod.’
Source: Harper's Bazaar
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