Never-before-seen Footage of Meghan Markle's Powerful Humanitarian Trip to India Released
Meghan teamed up with World Vision when she starred on Suits, traveling with the humanitarian aid foundation to Rwanda in 2016, and then visiting Delhi and Mumbai in January 2017 — just months after her relationship with Prince Harry went public.
In a video clip, Meghan is seen receiving a traditional bindi on her forehead. She then smiles and sighs as a young woman sprinkles flower petals on top of her head.
One of the purposes of her trip was to learn more about the stigma surrounding menstruation and lack of access to proper sanitation for young girls in India.
Speaking to the camera, she said: “What we found is that enrollment at this school went up three times as much once the latrines were built so that girls had access to clean hygiene and bathroom facilities while they’re at school.”
During the visit, which came more than one year before she married Harry, Meghan painted a mural with the students and helped them flowers.
“Yes, we can do it together,” she told the girls as they lowered a flowering plant into the ground. Meghan was then filmed watering the flowers as they schoolgirls clapped.
In another shot, Meghan wears a traditional Indian saree and sits in a circle, chatting with the women. She later watches a traditional dance.
Upon her return, she wrote an article about her experience for Time.com.
“During my time in the field, many girls shared that they feel embarrassed to go to school during their periods, ill equipped with rags instead of pads, unable to participate in sports, and without bathrooms available to care for themselves, they often opt to drop out of school entirely,” she said.
“Beyond India, in communities all over the globe, young girls’ potential is being squandered because we are too shy to talk about the most natural thing in the world.
“To that I say: we need to push the conversation, mobilize policy making surrounding menstrual health initiatives, support organizations who foster girls’ education from the ground up, and within our own homes, we need to rise above our puritanical bashfulness when it comes to talking about menstruation.”
The Duchess of Sussex has continued to further the conversation around girls’ education in her royal work. One of her first announced patronages was The Association of Commonwealth Universities. Established in 1913, the Association of Commonwealth Universities is the world’s first international university network, and remains the only accredited organization representing higher education across the Commonwealth.
Meghan has long been a vocal feminist. In addition to her work with World Vision, she also served as an ambassador for United Nations Women. And when she was just 11 years old, she wrote to Procter and Gamble because she thought one of their advertisements was sexist. Her tactic was effective: the company ended up changing their slogan to make it more gender inclusive.
On International Women’s Day this year, she said: “If things are wrong and there is a lack of justice and an inequality, someone needs to say something — and why can’t it be you?”
This Story Originally Appeared On People