Meghan Markle has just completed a charity trip in India for which she did her own research for eight months because she wanted to be truly prepared upon visiting the women living in the country’s impoverished areas. The Suits actress partnered with World Vision for the trip which began on Jan. 17.
The theme of Meghan’s trip is a part of World Vision Canada’s “Rise Up! Daughters of India” campaign. During her visit, she interacted with women in India’s slum communities and talked to them about education, hygiene and health care as well as economic development.
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An Us Weekly insider reports that Meghan, who has also been gracing headlines because of her relationship with Prince Harry, compiled her own research for the trip.
“She didn’t want to be given notes by someone else and just show up. These are important areas of interest for Meghan and cover issues she feels extremely passionate about.”
According to World Vision’s data, 47 percent of Indian schools have no proper washrooms, leaving girls with no choice but to go outside where their health, safety, and dignity are all at risk. This is reportedly one of the reasons why 23 percent of teenage girls choose not to continue their studies after their first menstrual period.
Meghan spent much of her time being accompanied by Suhani Jalota, an Indian student of Duke University who also established the Myna Mahila Foundation. The group not only provides jobs to the poor women of Mumbai, but also produces menstrual pads that many teenagers in the country don’t have access to.
The non-profit organization reports that over 85 percent of women in the country still rely on alternative sanitary products – newspapers, used fabrics, leaves – which only increase their risk for acquiring infections and even cervical cancer. Suhani believes that the stigma surrounding menstruation is the reason why attempts to improve feminine hygiene in India are slow.
“In India, where I grew up, menstruation is considered impure, and even saying the word period is taboo. It’s hard to imagine. I wanted to chip away at that stigma,” she said.
The 22-year-old’s work has reportedly inspired Meghan to choose the country for her field mission as a World Vision Ambassador. While it was only a five-day trip, Meghan reportedly considered it “moving.” She plans to return very soon to continue the discussions.
As opposed to what some critics are saying, Meghan has been doing philanthropic acts even before dating Prince Harry.
In March 2016, Meghan also visited Rwanda to see how clean water impacts the children living in Africa. A World Vision spokeswoman previously praised her for her concern about global issues and her passion to make a difference.
Some are wondering if she and Harry will soon have a joint philanthropic effort. Meghan might even contribute something to Harry’s mental health advocacy with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The three are active on their Heads Together campaign which works with various charities that help people battle mental illnesses.
It was recently confirmed that Harry introduced Meghan to Duchess Catherine on Jan. 10 in Kensington Palace. Princess Charlotte was also present. Her older brother George, on the other hand, was at Anmer Hall in Norfolk because he had school.
Since it was similarly the birth month of Prince William’s other half, Meghan brought along a thoughtful gift – a dream journal. While some royal watchers found the gift “questionable” and “a lot of work,” surely the Duchess thanked Meghan’s effort to give her something unique.
[Featured Image by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Relais & Chateaux]