AMADE - “A name easy to remember because it ressembles amour,” said Princess Grace – is just one of Monaco’s 800 associations.
Around 800 clubs and associations registered within just two hectares of territory; it barely seems possible, but, of course, this is Monaco. The principality even has a special, dedicated day for associations where members from a wide range of sectors present their work. From sports and culture to youth work, business, environment, health, animal welfare and charities, the associations of Monaco are the mirror of its multifaceted and multicultural society.
Shaken by the unfathomable suffering of children during the Vietnam War, Princess Grazia Patrizia - as Princess Grace was officially known - founded the politically independent Association Mondiale des Amis de l'Enfance in 1963. Her vision seemed so self-evident yet sadly so far removed from reality: all children, regardless of skin colour, nationality or religion, should live in dignity, security and with respected human rights. The princess quickly gained support from high-ranking personalities like Otto von Habsburg (the last Crown Prince of Austria-Hungary) and soon AMADE received international recognition. In the 1970s, the club received a consultancy status at UNICEF, UNICEF and ECOSOC.
Over the course of time, AMADE has become more and more specialised. The main focus of its activities is on children living in war zones; to protect them from violence, exploitation and abuse, and to support them with access to education and health. In 1993, Princess Caroline of Hanover adopted the presidency. Under her, AMADE places new emphasis on education, creating a healthy environment for vulnerable children, protecting them against exploitation as cheap labor and promoting equal opportunities, and vaccination campaigns. AMADE fights injustice on all fronts from malnutrition and illiteracy to the AIDS pandemic, child prostitution and sexual tourism. Wherever children are in need, AMADE aims to be there for them.
Just one example is the association’s work with UNICEF between 1997 and 2002, which established a comprehensive programme against diet-related blindness on the African continent. AMADE’s involvement was primarily centred on Mali, Cameroon and Mauritania where seven million small children were cured. In 2003, Princess Caroline was named a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for the education of young girls and women. AMADE has numerous antennas throughout Europe and the rest of the world, which are independent, but linked by signed agreements to the main body.
Princess Caroline of Hanover, who regularly travels to war zones and crisis areas, is as passionate for AMADE and its campaigns as Princess Grace was: “When my mother founded AMADE, it was her main concern that children grow up with compassion and love. The situation looks very different today [from AMADE’s inception]… The threats to which children are being exposed have grown considerably over the years and they are getting worse. The challenges have evolved, as has AMADE. Despite all this, the core message is the same as the one that my mother wanted to convey: children must be the centre of all our thoughts.”