Roots of Peace Founders Found Inspiration in Princess Diana, now in Prince Harry, too!
The tragic death of Princess Diana touched the hearts of many people around the world.
Even though Heidi Kuhn and Princess Diana have never met, Heidi says that she was inspired to keep on her work raising people’s awareness about the destructive power of landmines. It seems that now, the journey has come full circle as Diana’s son, Prince Harry, also continues with his mother’s mission. On April 4, he made a passionate speech at Kensington Palace.
ROP teaches #women in #Afghanistan how to clean grapes prior to drying them for maximum quality and market price pic.twitter.com/1Q9KtpbjbD
— Roots of Peace (@RootsofPeace) November 3, 2015
“Twenty years ago, in the last months of her life, my mother campaigned to draw attention to the horrific and indiscriminate impact of landmines,” the prince said on a date also known as International Mine Awareness Day. “She visited affected areas such as Huambo in Angola and Travnic in Bosnia. She heard how people in these communities lived in constant fear that each may be their last.”
Paying tribute to his later mother, Prince Harry is using his platform to appeal to people to get rid the world of landmines by 2025.
Tomorrow, the CEO of MAG will join me at #skollwf to help answer the ‘call to action’ by Prince Harry to raise… https://t.co/w1JGqlz06K
— Heidi Kuhn (@Heidi_Kuhn) April 5, 2017
Now Prince Harry is enthusiastically countinuing Princess Diana’s mission in order to help to demining organizations like the Halo Trust and the Mines Advisory Group.
“My mother had been shocked and appalled by the impact that landmines were having on incredibly vulnerable people and on children in particular,” he said during the speech. “She didn’t understand why more people were not willing to address the cause of so much suffering.”
Kuhn was so touched by Diana’s life and work that she was willing to address the suffering landmines were causing around the world. Around 20 years ago, Kuhn and Gary, her husband, followed a dream: Turn mines into vines by replacing the landmines with grape vines and other food crops.
The next year, the couple traveled to the same landmine-filled province Diana has walked in Angola. In 2003, Heidi spoke about the conditions in Huamo saying that it is “the most heavily mined province in the most heavily mined country in Africa.”
Their work helped with saving many lives of many people and animals in the region.
Later, the couple applied lessons learned through their Roots of Peace model in Afghanistan. First they removed the landmines and after that they helped farmers to improve crop yields on the land for food and export. And 14 years later, the result was remarkable.
Meet some of the #Afgan women who work with @rootsofpeace Tonight ABC 7 News 6pm @usaid pic.twitter.com/YTQAkHQRjH
— Cheryl Jennings (@CherylABC7) February 25, 2015
“We’ve pushed up the GDP of the country,” he said. “Our projects impact 2 percent to 3 percent at the farm level, and it’s people changing their lives, because now they have enough money for education and health. They don’t need handouts.”
Heidi and Gary were present at Kensington Palace for Prince Harry’s speech. And just like his mother, he also gave them an inspiration to action.
“This was not a formal announcement,” Heidi recalled. “It was very emotional and you could really see that in his eyes, in his demeanor, it was very heartfelt.”
Gary, who was beside his wife at the event, recalled the genuine delivery.
“The prince was a very human person and came out and basically stepping to fill his mother’s shoes and carry the cause forward,” he said.”I think she’d be proud of her son and what he’s doing. This was one of her top causes.”
More than $100 million were donated by The United Kingdom for landmine removal.
“I really hope that we can take the words of her son, and in the next eight years, follow up on that call to action and eradicate all landmines by 2025,” Heidi said. ” It would be a miracle.”