Commonwealth Day 2019 with interview by HRH

On the 11th March 2019, people in Commonwealth countries in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Americas, the Pacific and Europe observed the Commonwealth Day. The day was celebrated with a broad range of activities, including faith and civic gatherings, debates, school assemblies, flag raising ceremonies, street parties, cultural events and a multicultural, multi-faith service at Westminster Abbey.

print screen of BBC video

The theme for 2019 is ‘A Connected Commonwealth’, which offers opportunities for the people, governments and institutions of this richly diverse family of nations to connect and work together at many levels through far-reaching and deep-rooted networks of friendship and goodwill. This year also marks the 70th anniversary of the formation of the Commonwealth.

HRH’s letter – click on photo to read an online version of the letter

Since HRH couldn’t attend the service as she travelled to New York to take part in Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations, The Countess of Wessex has written a letter to the people of Malawi – congratulating them on removing the risk of trachoma. HRH is Vice-Patron of Queen Jubilee Trust, which works across the Commonwealth to end avoidable blindness.

photo shared by the Royal Family via Twitter

Today marks two years since Queen Jubilee Trust’s Vice-Patron HRH visited Malawi to see the work of the Trust’s Trachoma Initiative in action. During her visit, The Countess met Safira, now aged 14. Like many school children across Malawi, Safira has played a significant role in the country’s efforts to eliminate trachoma by teaching her community about the dangers of the disease and how to prevent it. To learn more about Safira, and her story since meeting HRH, click here.

photo DiamondJubileeTrust (@qejubileetrust) shared via Twitter

Malawi is the first country within the Trust’s Trachoma Initiative to have reduced the prevalence of the disease to under 5% of the population – a huge milestone in its journey to wipe out the disease in its entirety. In her letter, The Countess wrote:

I am delighted to hear the news that it is now official: Malawi has removed the risk of trachoma across the country.

For millennia, trachoma has blighted the lives of millions. Slowly and painfully, people lose their sight. They become unable to leave their homes, go to work and provide for their families. Children miss school as they have to stay at home to care for their relatives. Communities are trapped in a cycle of poverty, moving from one generation to the next.

But now trachoma is preventable and treatable. With leadership and a concerted effort over several years, it can be eliminated.

Also today, an interview with The Countess of Wessex on her work to champion the elimination of avoidable blindness across the Commonwealth was aired as part of A Service of Celebration for the Commonwealth on BBC One. You will fine the video on The Commonwealth official website, click here – it’s titled Commonwealth Day BBC One feature. For video of the service attended by the Royal family, click here. For press release by the Trust on HRH’s letter, click here.

A Big Brownie Birthday Message from HRH The Countess of Wessex

As The Brownie section is now 100 years old – Brownies are marking that special date by holding The Big Brownie Birthday. The Girl Guides Association was formed on 1910 – a separate organisation for girls – led by Agnes Baden-Powell, Robert Baden-Powell’s sister. And then in 1914 a junior section for girls under 11 was formed, called ‘Rosebuds’ (renamed ‘Brownies’ in 1915). Full timeline can be found here.
Back in January 2014, HRH The Countess of Wessex (Girlguiding President) was invited to spend some time with the 5th Frimley Brownies at their “Big Brownie Birthday Party”. You can read my post on that visit by clicking here. Post on HRH’s Girlguiding Presidency is here.
Print screen from girlguiding video, click on pic to view it
During her visit, HRH recorded a special video birthday message to all Brownie units, which has been publicly released today. In the video, The Countess sends her congratulations and best wishes to the thousands of dedicated volunteers all over the world. A little bit of trivia for you: the Countess was a brownie herself, and now her daugter Louise is a brownie too!
Print screen from girlguiding video

Also, two fortunate Brownies got to interview HRH by asking her few questions. The Countess shares insight on which badges she would like to win, based on her work requirements. 

It’s a lovely video, Girlguiding Brownies are very happy to have The Countess as Their President. “We’re delighted that our President HRH The Countess of Wessex – a dedicated Girlguiding supporter and the mother of a Brownie – has shared a very special Big Brownie Birthday video message.”