Inside Meghan Markle’s Visit to India In Support of Women’s Rights

By amin | Comments: 0 | January 24, 2017

It’s nice to see Meghan Markle back in the news for another reason besides her love life and if Princess Charlotte and her are BFFs. I completely understand why everyone is fascinated with her as she IS dating a prince and she could very well get to live our childhood dream of actually becoming a princess. But I’ve known about Meghan before her days with Prince Harry as she lives in Toronto and stars on the show Suits, which is filmed here. Since she lives and works where I do, I’ve had my fair share of Meghan spotting and one of the reasons I have always liked her is for her charity work.

Yes, long before she became the most googled person in 2016, Meghan was known here in Canada for her work with World Vision Canada. The charity works to support and sponsor children and their families living in poverty around the globe. She’s currently their ambassador and in this role she encourages people to help improve the lives of those in need. Last year she went to Rwanda to bring awareness to how clean water improves the lives of children in Africa. This year, she headed to India to set up the ‘Rise Up! Daughters of India’ Program.

Meghan at the airport leaving India

Meghan just returned from visiting the slums in Delhi where she learned about how women and young girls in the area are impacted by education and health care policies. The charity is focusing on helping females get better access to feminine hygiene by building proper toilets in schools. Nearly 63 million teenage girls in India do not have access to proper toilet facilities and 47 percent of schools in India have no washrooms. This forces the girls to go outside which risks their safety and health. Can you imagine going to school without a toilet? It’s something we take for granted everyday. For girls, not having access to a toilet is also a reason they end up dropping out of school. About 23 percent of girls dropped out of school once they started their period. When girls have access to proper toilets, it increases their opportunity to not only go to school but to STAY in school.

Meghan has previously visited Africa as part of her World Vision partnership

There’s also such a big safety issue around this. Imagine waking up in the middle of the night needing to use the washroom. Without a proper toilet, you would have to go outside into the fields to do your business. Who knows who is out there in the middle of the night? I remember when I was a little girl, I was visiting India and we were in a village. There was no proper toilet in the home we were staying in so my mom and female relatives would take me into the field to do my business. I remember how uncomfortable it was and I remember being embarrassed as to who may see me in such a vulnerable position. I was also very much afraid of snakes in the field and kept imagining one of them biting me. I hated every part of it and I only had to do this for a couple days. Imagine that was your only option? Now imagine having your period and not having access to menstrual pads. This is another product we take for granted. Women living in poverty in India are using alternate products such as used rags and newspaper leaves. I’m sure you can imagine how these would not offer adequate protection or hygiene. It’s a big issue and something World Vision has really dedicated their resources to.

Now back to Meghan. She spent a week in the city meeting with many NGOs and even visiting Shamina Shafiq, former member of the National Commission for Women. She has since left the country and so far there is no official word yet on what future initiatives Meghan may launch with the organization. However, Meghan is been vocal in her charity work, so I’m sure we will see her continue to work with the organization. I’m excited to see how Meghan’s new high profile will help her bring positive change to the women’s rights movement. When you think about improving the status of women, I know many of us think of creating equal opportunities and eliminating the pay wage gap or something really complex. But sometimes, all we have to do to make a difference in the life of a girl is to get her access to something simple. Like as a toilet. Imagine that folks. Something we take for granted everyday here could greatly improve the lives of women elsewhere. I think it’s amazing how Meghan is bringing awareness to the issue in India and I hope her involvement inspires you to find little ways you can help out as well.

To learn more about the project, click here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *