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General Articles

The Princess Charlene Foundation - Saving Lives

By Celina Lafuente de Lavotha - Monaco Reporter

Glamour rhythms with social responsibility

An elegant and joyful Princess Charlene of Monaco joined her brother Gareth Wittstock, former South African rugby player Francois Pienaar, many other famous athletes and loyal supporters, for the dazzling fundraising gala on Saturday, April 14, 2018 at the Yacht Club of Monaco.  Generous bidders broke all records  raising over 1 million Euros benefiting the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation, that will help them pursue their mission of saving lives by preventing drowning around the world!

The fundraiser was held ahead of the Riviera Water Bike Challenge, which sees high-profile athletes race water bikes off the coast of Monaco. Five-time Olympic swimmer Ian Thorpe will be among those taking part in this year’s competition scheduled for Sunday, June 17, 2018.

HSH Princess Charlene said: “The first edition of the Riviera Water Bike Challenge in 2017 was a great success. The 2018 edition promises to be equally successful. Thanks to all fundraising, the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation, with the collaboration of Monaco and Burkina Faso Red Cross, has built the very needed aquatic center in Loumbila in Burkina Faso and we are now in position to start to train water safety and swimming instructors.” The Princess added: “Since launching my Foundation in 2012, we have reached over 500.000 people in 33 countries at the end of 2017, teaching them to swim, to learn essential water safety skills and to appreciate the values of sport that are so dear to me. Thanks to your generosity, all the fundraising will allow to finance the projects followed by my Foundation and that are dear to my heart.”

Celebrated sports people offer their full support

Among the well known athletes present at the gala, who are Ambassadors of the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation, were: Alexandre Bilodeau, two-time Olympic champion in freestyle skiing; Pierre Frolla, four-time world record holder in free diving; Ryk Neethling, three-time World Champion, Olympic gold medalist swimmer, who is also CEO of the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation South Africa; François Pienaar, rugby World Champion with the Springboks, trustee of the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation South Africa and advisor of the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation; as well as Kevin Crovetto, gymnast; Alexandre Despatie, two-time Olympic medalist and three-time World Champion diver; Luciano Orquera, former Italian international rugby player; and Simon Shaw, English rugby World Champion.

The evening‘s master of ceremonies was no other than Irish former motorsports team boss, businessman and TV personality Eddy Jordan, who is a great supporter of the Princess’ foundation. A variety of performers entertained the guests through the evening, notably Violinist Stephanie Valentin.

Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation – A life-saving mission

Launched on 14th December 2012, the primary objective of The Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation is to save lives by putting an end to drowning.

Its missions are to raise public awareness about the dangers of water, teach children preventive measures, and teach them to swim.

The World Health Organization estimated that 360,000 people drowned worldwide in 2015(*).

  • More than 40 fatalities every hour
  • More than half the victims are under the age of 25
  • Children under the age of 5 are the most affected

When a drowning is non-fatal, often the victim is left with severe aftereffects, in particular neurological.

A number of “Learn to Swim” and “Water Safety” programs have been implemented around the world in order to fight against this scourge.

The Foundation is equally involved in communicating the values of sport such as discipline, respect for oneself and for others, determination and teamwork. The “Sport & Education” program believes that sport is a tool that contributes to the wellbeing and the development of children.

* Reproduced with the publisher’s permission – Fact Sheet N°347, May 2017, published by the World Health Organization –

Mark your calendar for 2nd edition of Water Bike Challenge

The 1st edition of the Water Bike Challenge was spectacular, and the 2nd promises to be even better. It is scheduled for Sunday, June 17, 2018, and will have teams consisting of a balanced mix of professional and amateur athletes, riding on Schiller S1-C aquatic bikes in a relay format. For this new edition the competitors will cover 21 km in a loop in front of the port of Monaco, facing the solarium and the dam. An event not to be missed!

For  information about the Riviera Water Bike Challenge please contact:


“I don’t want to be a princess who sits on the sidelines; I want to be present and actively involved. It’s a life with a purpose.” Princess Charlene of Monaco

Wednesday, 25 April 2018    Section: General Articles    Author: Celina Lafuente de Lavotha
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