Keep helping people is message to royal bride Meghan Markle from schoolgirls in Rwanda
Girls' education, Right to education
On the eve of the royal wedding, primary students recall her visit to see how clean water and toilets are helping to keep girls in school.
A huge global audience will sit down tomorrow to watch the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
But schoolgirls in Rwanda have a special reason for sending their best wishes to the bride.
Meghan visited the country in 2016 to see clean water projects and to highlight how having toilets can mean the difference between girls dropping out of school or continuing with their education.
“What seems like something to simple to us has really changed the community and these kids’ ability to stay in school and maximise their education and learning,” she said at the time. “It’s the little things that have the biggest impact.”
Meghan – then best known for her role in the American TV show Suits – visited Rwanda as an ambassador for the charity World Vision.
At Mbandazi primary school in Kigali Province she taught students to paint with watercolours, using water from a newly installed pipeline in their community. They created pictures based on their hopes and futures, which are now brighter because of the access to clean water.
Twelve-year-old Samantha said she was so happy to have met Meghan, adding: “I hope that she will enjoy her beautiful wedding with the prince and a happy future together.”
Student Jean de Dieu Tuyishimire also remembered her visiting Kanyangese Primary School in Gatsibo district. She said: “I hope she will continue helping poor people in the world.”
On a separate visit with World Vision to India last year, Meghan went to Delhi and Mumbai and visited projects designed to remove barriers to education for girls.
“We’re deeply grateful for her contribution as a global ambassador for World Vision over the past two years and for helping to raise awareness for the world’s most vulnerable children,” said Lara Dewar, Chief Marketing and Development Officer at World Vision Canada.
“I personally witnessed Meghan’s passion to improve the lives of children and to advocate for the rights of girls – to hear and amplify their important voices.”
That caring side was evident as a teenager, according to Maria Pollia – Meghan’s theology teacher at Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles.
She said the future princess was always engaged in class discussions and added: “She was also a very unusually compassionate person and developed that compassion quite early in her life.”
Prince Harry has also been an advocate for girls’ education. In 2016 he spoke at the Nepal Girl Summit in Kathmandu, where he said school was the key to empowering girls and young women to improve their lives and the communities where they live.
He made an impassioned plea for every girl to be educated and for the practice of child and early marriage to be ended.
The prince said: “It may be obvious to say it but girls who marry young stay at home. They don’t finish school. And they soon become locked in a cycle of illiteracy, poverty, ill health and, ultimately, powerlessness.
“How can this cycle be broken? We all know what the answer is – education.”