9 OCTOBER 2008 The Paraguayan children welcoming Princess Maxima of the Netherlands with flowers were too young to understand the nature of her mission. But it is their future which Crown Prince Willem-Alexander's wife has in mind as she visits the South American country.
Attending a conference on financial services for the poor gave the Argentine-born royal a chance to promote two of her great passions in life – improving children's lives and micro-credit for small businesses.
Knowing the power of publicity, the media-savvy campaigner invited the cameras with her to San Antonio, a community 25 kilometres outside the Paraguayan capital of Asuncion which is benefitting from these initiatives.
And as a mother of three little girls Maxima soon put the kids at ease as they lined up for photos with her dressed in their national colours of blue, red and white.
"I hope that by showcasing successes we can encourage (providing) inclusive finance as a global priority and an important tool for alleviating poverty," says former banker Maxima, who sits on a UN advisory committee on micro-finance.