Folkekirkens Nødhjælp · Visits

Princess Marie attends reception marking her 10 years as Patron of DanChurchAid

This year, Princess Marie celebrates her 10th year as Patron of DanChurchAid and the charity organized a reception to mark this anniversary. Read more below.

©Bax Lindhardt

About their patron, DanChurchAid said: “We would like to say thank you for an exciting journey where the Princess has helped us focus on the world’s poorest and create hope and action. Princess Marie always brings her heart and it can be felt every time. We are grateful for the Princess’s great commitment to our work, and we are incredibly excited to continue our shared journey.”

During the event, a video showing a recap of Princess Marie’s work over the past 10 years as well as messages from some of the people she met on her humanitarian trips was presented before Princess Marie made her speech. You can read her speech in full below.

©Bax Lindhardt

Thank you Søren Christian for the nice words. I would like to take this opportunity to send my warm thoughts to Secretary General Birgitte Qvist-Sørensen, who has unfortunately been prevented from being here. Thank you so much for the very touching video greeting. Thank you all – staff, representatives of the council and board – because you are here today to celebrate my 10th anniversary. Time flies…

Thank you to all employees and volunteers in DanChurchAid for your huge efforts for the world’s poorest, thank you because every day you create hope in the world. And thank you for letting me be your patron. I am very honored and humbled by that – and I look forward to continuing the collaboration with you. Travel and countries, people and meetings, gripping experiences and strong impressions have left a deep impression. It has given me new insights and perspectives on the world. It has meant – and means – incredibly much to me.

My first trip to Cambodia in 2012 left a very special mark. I was prepared. I had familiarized myself with the program work. I had studied the country’s history, geography, and political conditions… But there are things you can not prepare for when studying. You are not prepared for what you see. It’s about poverty in slums. Street children. Families who lived close together in a small shed with tin roof. Poverty in the countryside. Floods from the Mekong River. Families with sick children in humid heat. People who really own nothing.

But of course I was also greeted by hope and action from DanChurchAid’s skilled staff and local partners in Cambodia: Those who helped the poor families in the slums start up a small business. Those who provided education for street children. Those who supported with food aid in the countryside. That journey touched me deeply and convinced me that you are making a difference in the world, and I wanted to contribute to that. The rest is history, as they say.

The journey continued to Ethiopia in 2014. My first trip to the Horn of Africa. Surrounded by the villagers, I gained insight into how DanChurchAid works in practice to build robust communities. Societies that can withstand climate change with new drought-resistant crops, irrigation canals, loan-saving groups. The trip to Myanmar in 2016 stands as a visit to the most beautiful country, but with an incredibly poor population. We sailed out to small villages built on pillars in the lake. Visited families and was received with open arms. I often think about how they feel today.

The trip to Uganda in 2020 stands in clear, distinct memory. The work of educating both refugees and local farmers in new crops is both about saving lives and building robust communities. And I will never forget the female farmers, their kitchen gardens, and courage of life. No matter where I have traveled with DanChurchAid, I have been impressed with the care with which projects are selected and staff recruited. It is not easy, because it is sensitive cultures that one operates in, and it is about human destinies in the end.

©Bax Lindhardt

It has also meant a lot to me to be involved in DanChurchAid’s demining campaign. Mines that harm children and adults every day. Which in the most severe cases costs lives. Education and information about mine danger is so important – as well as the use of modern technology to clear mines and remove unexploded ordnance. My visit to Skive Barracks, where DanChurchAid trains deminers from all over the world, made a big impression on me. Not least when I felt the bang and the pressure wave from an explosion.

And of course I have to mention Wefood and the fight against food waste. That concept makes so much sense. Both seen in a moral perspective – because no, you do not throw food out. And also in a poverty perspective – we invest the profits in fighting hunger. And finally, it also makes good sense from a climate perspective. A special thought and greeting to all the volunteers involved in Wefood and second-hand shops around the country. I look forward to visiting you in the future.

Each trip has been unique. Every person I met has helped me become a better person. A human being who has seen how far compassion and generosity can lead us. I could keep talking about my travels and experiences with you. I could go on to the 100th anniversary… From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

It was a very emotional moment for Princess Marie. BT reports that DanChurchAid gifted Princess Marie a shawl made in Cambodia. She was also gifted a pin by DanChurchAid to mark the anniversary. It was made by HandcraftedCPH.

Princess Marie also was shown a photo exhibition about the organization’s work and was also introduced to a new rice blend that fights food waste by containing cracked basmati rice, which is usually sorted out. At the same time, the rice mixture ensures a stable income for local farmers in Cambodia, who supply organic jasmine rice to the mixture. ⁣

©Bax Lindhardt

Princess Marie wore her Giorgio Armani blazer with her Peserico dress. She paired the outfit with a repeated black clutch and black pumps.

She also wore Christine Hvelplund jewels and her Rolex watch.

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