The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William and Kate, joined a children’s birthday party, read to children during story-time and played an impromptu game of cricket when they visited the SOS Children’s Village community in Lahore, Pakistan during their state visit to the country.
The Duke entertained the children with finger puppets, and the Duchess thrilled the children by speaking in Urdu as she said happy birthday to three of the children - 12-year-old Iman, six-year-old Ibrahim, and eight-year-old Daniyal.
She opened her speech in Urdu, saying, ‘Assalam O Alaikum. Emaan, Ibrahim aur Daniyal apni salgirah pur bulanay ka bohat shukria," to a round of exited applause from the children.
They then spent time with an SOS family, talked with young adults to hear about their experiences growing up in the village community, and joined an art class.
The Duchess went on to say, “Earlier this year I talked about the fact that it takes a village to raise a child. The village we have seen here today is the best representation of that ideal that I could have possibly imagined. Together as a village you are transforming children’s lives and providing them with strong foundations to support all their families.”
“You have shown us too that it is not simply a term that describes the relationship between blood relatives. Instead it describes those special bonds we share with those who make us feel safe and supported. It is the quality of those relationships that matters.”
Later, the couple knelt on the ground as a group of children tied friendship bracelets on each of their wrists. Eight-year-old Khadija was thrilled. “The royal couple was very nice and friendly. They let me put a friendship band on their hand and I won’t forget this moment,” she told us.
“What touched us all to the core was their humanity and humility. Their playful discourse with the children, the game of cricket, laughing and talking with such comfort won over the heart of every child." - Almas Butt, SOS Children's Villages, Lahore
The royal couple made two visits to the SOS village community, where 150 children who have lost their parents are given a second chance at a family upbringing in SOS families. “You have reminded us exactly what family means,” the Duchess said of her visit.
“You have created a home, where children are given the love, protection, and support that will enable them to have a fairer chance in life.”
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