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Thursday, November 8, 2001

The Prince’s Trust charity

Queen Rania meets with representatives of The Prince’s Trust, a leading British youth charity

(Office of Her Majesty, Press Department - LONDON) Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah demonstrated her ongoing commitment to youth empowerment by meeting with representatives of The Prince's Trust, UK's leading youth charity providing opportunities to help young people succeed in their endeavors.

The Queen's meeting with trustees, key staff, volunteers, and beneficiaries of the organization came as part of her visit to Lambeth College in South London, where she spoke to youth and was briefed on the organization's work, in particular its business and volunteer programs.

The Prince's Trust, officially set up by HRH The Prince of Wales in 1976, supports youth aged 14-30 years to learn new skills, develop confidence, find work, and set up businesses, in particular targeting unemployed or underprivileged individuals.

Lambeth College is one of the 'delivery' agencies the organization works with to execute its volunteers program.

The Queen--who is accompanying His Majesty King Abdullah on a state visit to the United Kingdom--also met with several young entrepreneurs who have benefited from The Prince's Trust Business Program.

This initiative aims to support youth and tackle unemployment by providing capital and low-interest loans to young people who are otherwise unable to obtain traditional bank loans to start their own businesses.

The program also offers, through a network of volunteer business mentors, ongoing management and marketing support to business-owners in their first three years of operations.

Since its inception fifteen years ago, it has helped nearly 50,000 young people launch businesses ranging from catering to garden design and computer games distribution.

Since she assumed her responsibilities, Queen Rania has been a strong advocate of youth empowerment, supporting national initiatives that equip young people with the necessary skills to address the challenges of the 21st century and be skilled contributors to the national economy.

The Queen is also a long-time supporter of microfinance--the provision of short-term, small loans to microentrepreneurs--as an effective socioeconomic tool to help alleviate poverty and unemployment.

In 1995, the Queen established the Jordan River Foundation, a non-governmental organization working at the grassroots level to motivate low-income Jordanian families to participate in microfinance and income-generating initiatives.

The Foundation's projects assist entrepreneurs in raising additional sources of income, and also deliver non-financial business support and training in order to help them launch, expand, and improve their small businesses.

Queen Rania Thursday also heard firsthand from a team of Prince's Trust volunteers, who undertake a range of activities over 12 weeks to develop key skills and increase their employability.

Youth enrolled in the organization's Volunteers Program--run in partnership with local business, colleges, and other organizations--complete their own community projects and gain several qualifications.

The team of volunteers meeting with Queen Rania at Lambeth College Thursday is run in partnership with the institution of higher learning, located in one of the UK's most deprived areas.

About one-third of the local community's residents are from minority ethnic groups. The Queen was welcomed to the college by its Principal and Chief Executive Adrian Perry, who briefed her on the college, its role in the local community, and its links with The Prince's Trust.

Earlier in the day, Mrs. Cherie Blair, wife of Prime Minister Tony Blair, hosted Queen Rania at a working lunch at 10 Downing Street, with leading British women working on human rights and women's rights.

Queen Rania and Mrs. Blair shared thoughts on issues of common interest, including childhood issues and family safety. Following the lunch, Queen Rania and Mrs. Blair joined His Majesty King Abdullah and Prime Minister Blair for coffee at 10 Downing Street.