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The brothers lost their parents in the Boxing Day Tsunami, whilst travelling so they made a vow to build kids campuses around the world. They now have one in Sri Lanka, Malawi, Brazil and Nepal and this is all because they have a DON’T JUST EXIST mentality, because you are only given one life to live.
We were honoured to be invited by Their Royal Highnesses the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry to Buckingham Palace for the launch of The Queen’s Young Leaders Programme last month. And yes, we did turn up in our shorts and flip flops, as well as give the Princes a pair each but we’re social entrepreneurs, so we’ll explain why in a minute.
We think the Queen’s Young Leaders Programme is a brilliant way of reaching out to young people who are helping themselves and their communities across the Commonwealth. So many young people are doing great things out there but not getting the support they need, or any recognition. This Programme seeks to do both these things. In year one 60 young people from across the Commonwealth will receive a tailored package of training, mentoring and networking as well as a one-week residential programme during which they will receive their Award – all designed to help them continue improving their lives and the lives of others.
It’s an incredible feeling to be involved in something like this, playing a supportive role in the search for amazing young people from all across the Commonwealth and having the Princes recognise our own hard work. We lost our parents when we were 16 and 14 in the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004 when we were travelling in Sri Lanka. We were determined to turn our experience into something positive and were inspired to build kids campuses in developing countries funded by our Gandys flip flop business based here in London.
Ten per cent of all our profits go to the Gandys Foundation which supports children in need of basic essentials such as shelter, nutrition, medication and education. This is called the ‘Orphans for Orphans’ mission which is funding kid’s campuses across the world.
To be recognised as shining examples of young community leader by Royalty was overwhelming. Not only did this drive us to create a brand that is accessible to everyone, but also to show everyone how passionate we are in building kid’s campuses around the world. Our goals cannot be met without the help of you guys – the Gandys community. Every purchase goes towards building more kids campuses and helping children across the world. So, WE NEED YOU.
The Duke of Cambridge empathised with our loss and could relate to what we’d been through. He said although he lost his mum at 15 there was always a silver lining. His said he had his own family now and that was his ‘silver lining’. He also told us that people who lose parents at a young age have to dust themselves off and carry on and he urged us to continue with our good work.
The Duke said you should always believe in yourself and don’t give up on your quest and that’s the message we would pass on to other young people. We really enjoy supporting young people and are delighted to be involved with this initiative as the well-being of young people is an issue that’s close to our hearts.