Sophie is currently in Africa . Keeping her personal and everyday life out of the public eye, the Duchess of Edinburgh briefly left her permanent residence and traveled to Ethiopia. And the reason is great.
The 58-year-old king visited Tigray, Ethiopia, on Sunday to give practical support to the project, which helps women who have been victims of sexual violence in conflicts and wars .
Together with a UNICEF team, Sophie can observe first-hand the far-reaching effects of conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) and gender-based violence.
“The Duchess has been campaigning for the prevention of sexual violence in conflict (PSVI) and survivors of CRSV for many years and has traveled a lot to witness their stories,” Buckingham Palace said in a press release.
In recent days, Sophie has also visited the Sabacare internally displaced persons camp in northern Ethiopia, where more than 16,000 internally displaced persons are being cared for – many of them women and girls. At the one-stop Center (osc) of the Ayder Hospital for Survivors of Gender-based Violence, the Duchess saw the range of medical treatments and consultations that have helped hundreds of women in the country’s humanitarian crisis.
She also visited the Women’s Development Center, a charity that equips vulnerable women, many of whom are survivors of conflict-related sexual violence, with skills to lead independent lives with secure employment, the palace said in a statement.
Sophie, who has a daughter, Lady Louise Windsor, 18, and a son, James, 14, with husband Prince Edward, also joined some of the women in special sewing activities and “visited a child-friendly area in the camp where children have a safe place to play, learn and grow,” the palace’s statement added.
It’s a prime target for the Duchess, who was given her title when King Charles bestowed the title Duke of Edinburgh on her younger brother Edward on his 59th birthday in March – and one of the two reasons she’s in Africa.
The second is related to vision health. As a global ambassador of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), Sophie is in Ethiopia to celebrate the work of the international charity Orbis to combat the contagious and blind eye disease trachoma.
During her visit, she is expected to see eye health in action, meet specialists, social workers and government officials, and spend time with patients whose eyesight has been restored. Sophie will also attend a school where children will learn to protect themselves from trachoma by face washing and good hygiene practices. The visit will take place on the occasion of World Vision Day on 12 October.