Watch: Unseen Footage Of Meghan Markle On A Charity Visit To India
As-yet-unseen footage of the Duchess of Sussex on a charity visit to India has just been released.
The footage was captured back in January 2017 when the then-actor visited Delhi and Mumbai with World Vision to tackle an issue close to her heart -- gender equality and women's rights.
At the time Meghan's relationship with her now-husband Prince Harry had just been made public.
The Duchess' focus on that visit was to learn more about why more than 110 million teenage girls in India -- the second most populated country in the world -- were at risk of dropping out of school.
The issue is a lack of proper sanitation for young girls -- only half of Indian secondary schools have toilets -- and a long-held stigma surrounding menstruation.
In the footage, which has not been published anywhere before, a then 35-year-old Meghan is seen planting flowers and painting murals with schoolchildren who'd had new toilet facilities installed.
In another shot, a beaming female student applies a traditional bindi to her forehead then tumbles flower petals on top of her head.
At one point Meghan tells the camera: "What we found is that the enrolment at this school went up three times once the latrines were built so that girls had access to clean hygiene and bathroom facilities while they're at school."
The royal mum-to-be joined forces with the World Vision when she appeared as Rachel Zane in the legal drama Suits.
Meghan followed up her India trip by writing a piece for Time magazine in which she called for more menstrual health initiatives and support for organisations who "foster girls' education from the ground up."
"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 wrote.
We need to rise above our puritanical bashfulness when it comes to talking about menstruation.
While in India Meghan was also introduced to the Myna Mahila Foundation which works with women and girls in Mumbai's urban slums.
The foundation was one of the seven charities she and Harry asked well-wishers to donate to in lieu of wedding gifts when they tied the knot in May 2018.
Meghan has long been an advocate for women's rights. In 2016 she travelled to Rwanda with the charity World Vision and has also served as an ambassador for United Nations Women.
In September 2018 she launched a charity cookbook, Together: Our Community Cookbook, which benefits the women and their families who survived London's devastating Grenfell Tower fire in 2017.
A month later the Duchess delivered her first speech as part of her and Harry's royal tour Down Under which focussed on the importance of education for girls and women in developing countries.
On International Women's Day this year, she was quoted as saying: "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?"
Feature image: Twitter/@WorldVisionUK.