The Red Cross dress
Diana began her charitable work for the first time in March 1981. Diana’s extensive charity work was of enormous magnitude which also included a campaign for animal protection and fight against the use of landmines. She had worked with numerous charities and organizations that worked for the sufferings of humans and animals equally. She became the patron of the British Red Cross and supported its charitable and philanthropic work in other countries.
The photographs of Princess Diana wearing protective equipment surfaced on international media in January 1997, as well as her meeting landmine survivors, raised the profile of the work being done to clear landmines around the world. During her meeting with the victims of landmines, she had been wearing Red Cross dress. Months after her untimely death in August 1997 the United Nations Mine Ban Treaty was opened for signature, prohibiting the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of landmines, 164 countries have become parties to the agreement since then, and the agreement is now informally known as the Ottawa Treaty.
She had worked with the British Red Cross for several years before the Red Cross had sponsored her visit to Angola in January 1997. In Angola’s Huambo province she came across the work of the HALO Trust, which had been working to clear mines in Angola since 1994 amid the then-ongoing civil war there.
She met children who were landmine survivors, and she was also walked through a cleared lane in one of the active minefields wearing protective armor and headgear. Photographs from her visit and meeting with the landmines survivors were immediately circulated across international media.
The program manager of the HALO Trust quoted later that her visit to the survivors of landmines has been something to talk about till now. He further said that her visit was something like the feeling of the acknowledgment for the people who were present here at that time. People, those who met her, still recognize her kindness and generosity for them.
In a letter to the British Red Cross after her visit to the landmines survivors in Angola, she wrote that if her visit had contributed in any way at all in highlighting that terrible issue, then her deepest wish would have been fulfilled.
However Angola wasn’t the only country affected by landmines that Diana visited; in early August 1997, she also visited victims of landmines in Bosnia and again brought the world’s attention towards this issue. Landmines survivors in Bosnia remember her visit well. And said it was a very brave decision for her to come here only two years after the war because the situation wasn’t very stable, and they had the feeling that Diana decided to use her fame to help people who are victims of landmines. Her contribution to the international level was of great importance.