CAMFED’s Angie Mirimirwa opens up about spontaneous hug from Prince Harry in Zambia

By Meaghan Wray

Angeline Mirimirwa was 12 years old when she was first introduced to CAMFED (Campaign for Female Education), an organization Prince Harry visited on his recent trip to Zambia. Living in rural Zimbabwe and having just completed primary school at the top of her class, high school was not an option for Angie. But luckily, she had the support of the NGO ­– and now she’s CAMFED’s executive director.

While the prince was in the south-eastern African country on Nov. 27, he addressed the young audience, many of whom were beneficiaries and now leaders in the charitable organization. When HELLO! Canada caught up with Angie, she had just one word to describe that moment: “Wow.” She continued: “It is incredible that he’s using his power and position to be able to advance the issues that matter – women’s empowerment through girls’ education, the issues of youth involvement, the power of connecting … It’s incredible that he leant his voice to that.”

Prince Harry, 34, has always held the beautiful continent close to his heart, and focuses much of his outreach there, just like his mom Princess Diana did. In his speech that day, he said: “You have filled this place with song and your optimism is infectious — what a wonderful introduction to your work. I know my wife, Meghan, had a wonderful meeting with Angeline Murimirwa from your team this past spring, and sends her very best wishes to you all.” But what came after his moving speech, Angie shared, was totally unexpected.

“One of the reasons why we really enjoyed having him here at that event is that he was very genuine and sincere,” she gushed. “[It] was spontaneous, all the [photos] that you see were spontaneous. They were not pre-planned. So, that really means a lot … It was beautiful.” Another unexpected treat was a hug from the dad-to-be himself, who generously took the time to greet everyone there. “When he gave me the hug, one thing that he said was that he was going to relay back [to Duchess Meghan] that we had met … and that he was very proud of what we were doing and to continue.”

Angie is the executive director of CAMFED, Africa. Photo: © CAMFED

The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust is only a year old and already creating a valuable space for young voices to be heard. And it’s no surprise that the trust is an avid supporter of CAMFED, which aims to eradicate poverty by supporting marginalized girls so they can go to school.

Although Duchess Meghan couldn’t be there by her husband’s side to support the cause, CAMFED’s CEO Lucy Lake knows just how much their mission aligns with Meghan’s values, as she’s shown “through the public speeches she’s been giving and bringing the issues into a wider agenda, particularly around girls and women’s empowerment,” she said. “The connections they’re making between young peoples’ organizations is phenomenal, as much as is the spotlight they’re bringing.”

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