We came to know and love her as Rachel Zane, paralegal-turned-full-fledged-attorney on the hit USA legal drama, “Suits.” But in real life, Meghan Markle has long been involved in humanitarian efforts and charity work — from volunteering in soup kitchens as a teenager, to advocating for gender equality with the U.N., and raising awareness for the world’s most vulnerable children.
Seeing development firsthand
In 2016, Meghan traveled to Rwanda as a Global Ambassador for World Vision. She was able to see firsthand the impact that clean water has on the lives of children and communities in Africa.
As part of her humanitarian work in Rwanda, Meghan visited the Kabeza borehole. It was built by World Vision in 2013 and continues to bring clean water to 1,000 people from nearby communities.
Gender equality starts here
Meghan also visited Mbandazi primary school, where World Vision has built water wells and latrines to benefit 1,600 students. As a strong advocate for gender equality, Meghan was particularly passionate about bringing awareness to girls’ lack of access to education.
“I think there’s a misconception that access to clean water is just about clean drinking water, which, of course, it is. But it’s so much more than that,” Meghan said. “Access to clean water in a community keeps young girls in school because they aren’t walking hours each day to source water for their families.”
Girls are better equipped and feel safe to attend school when they have access to clean water and latrines and are provided a counselor and a special room for when they are menstruating.
A stream of creativity
While visiting Mbandazi primary school, Meghan taught students to paint with watercolors using water from a newly installed pipeline in their community.
“It was an amazing experience, taking water from one of the water sources in the community and using it with the children to paint pictures of what they dream to be when they grow up,” said Meghan. “I saw that water is not just a life source for a community, but it can really be a source for creative imagination, and how lucky I am to have been a part of that.”
Meghan later brought the paintings back to Toronto, where she lived while filming “Suits,” to share the student artists’ stories at a special World Water Day event called The Watercolour Project. In total, the event raised $15,000, which allowed World Vision to build a new water source for an entire community.
Activism in India and beyond
In 2017, Meghan once again traveled as a World Vision Global Ambassador — this time to India. Continuing to advocate strongly for gender equality, Meghan focused on bringing greater awareness to girls’ lack of access to education. She engaged with local activists and educators who focus on improving access to girls’ latrines, which has been a significant problem for 63 million teenage girls in India.
With her focus on the rights of girls and her tireless passion, Meghan has left an indelible mark on the humanitarian world.
As a World Vision Global Ambassador, Meghan showed a keen sense of responsibility to use any platform or influence she might have to better the world for others.
“Do one act of kindness every day. It doesn’t need to be big. It just needs to be something,” Meghan said.
As she prepares to step into her new role as part of the royal family, she will no doubt continue to be a spokesperson for causes close to her heart.
“Meghan is a true humanitarian,” said Lara Dewar, chief marketing and development officer for World Vision in Canada. “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. I personally witnessed Meghan’s passion to improve the lives of children and know her heart to advocate for the rights of girls — to hear and amplify their important voices. She will undoubtedly bring vast energy to her charity work as a member of the royal family. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for her and Prince Harry — a couple who clearly have a heart for social justice.”