Inside Meghan Markle's Advocacy Work for Children
Meghan Markle has been prepping for motherhood for years!
Ahead of the arrival of her first child with her husband, Prince Harry, ET is taking a look back at how the Duchess of Sussex has expressed her love for children through charity work -- even before she was a royal.
Meghan's own charity work began when she was just a child herself, when, at 11 years old, she wrote letters to Procter & Gamble, Hillary Clinton, Gloria Allred, and news anchor Linda Ellerbee after seeing a dish soap advertisement that she found sexist for declaring, "Women all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans."
She received letters back from those she wrote and the company even changed the word "women" to "people" in the ad as a result of Meghan's persistence. The duchess told the inspiring story when she spoke at the United Nations in 2015, stating that children should use their voice to speak up, even if they aren't sure anyone will listen.
"It just wasn't right and something needed to be done," she said in the speech. "At the age of 11, I created my small level of impact by standing up for equality."
Meghan continued her advocacy work throughout her childhood and into adulthood, fighting for causes including women's and animal rights. In 2014 and 2016, she served as a Counselor at One Young World Summit, which encourages young people to stand up for causes they believe in.
According to the organization's website, it "identifies, promotes and connects the world’s most impactful young leaders to create a better world, with more responsible, more effective leadership," while its summit works to "accelerate the social impact."
Also in 2016, Meghan traveled to Rwanda while serving as a Global Ambassador for World Vision, the world's largest international children's charity. She held her title for a year, focusing on the importance of clean water.
During her visit, Meghan taught students to paint with watercolors, using water from a newly installed pipeline in their community, according to the organization.
"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," she told the charity. "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."
As part of her role as a Global Ambassador, Meghan wrote an article for TIME about how young women are negatively impacted when they aren't given access to tampons and pads.
"I traveled to Delhi and Mumbai this January with World Vision to meet girls and women directly impacted by the stigmatization of menstrual health and to learn how it hinders girls’ education," she wrote. "One hundred and thirteen million adolescent girls between the ages of 12-14 in India alone are at risk of dropping out of school because of the stigma surrounding menstrual health."
From the moment Meghan became a royal, her advocacy only continued to grow. In lieu of wedding gifts, Meghan and Harry requested donations be made to select charities including the Children's HIV Association, which supports children growing up with HIV and their families; Scotty's Little Soldiers, which aids children who have lost a parent who served in the British Armed Forces; StreetGames, which uses sport to empower young people; and The Wilderness Foundation UK, which helps build resilience in vulnerable teenagers, introduces rural employment to urban youth, and brings science to life.
Less than a month after her royal wedding, Meghan officially became a part of The Royal Foundation, a royal charity set up by Harry, Prince William and Kate Middleton. The organization is passionate about improving opportunities for young people, through work online, a focus on career, and help through sports and projects that steer people away from gangs and violence.
Throughout her time as a royal, Meghan has also attended many events focusing on children, making her affection for kids known.
Back in January, Kensington Palace announced that Meghan would serve as the patron of four organizations: The Royal National Theatre, The Association of Commonwealth Universities, Smart Works and Mayhew. While the latter two charities focus on women and animals respectively, the first two assist both children and young people in both arts and higher education.
Following a recent social media campaign dubbed #GlobalSussexBabyShower, Meghan and Harry's new Instagram account, Sussex Royal, shared which charities the royal couple would like people to donate to in honor of their new addition, all of which focus on children.
The chosen charities were WellChild, which helps seriously ill kids; The Lunchbox Fund, which provides meals to schoolchildren in need; Little Village HQ, which collects clothes, toys and kits for children; and Baby2Baby, which provides children living in poverty with diapers, clothing and other necessities. As a result of the duke and duchess' wish, all the charities saw a rise in donations and support.
Ahead of the arrival of their first child, ET recently confirmed that Harry and Meghan moved into their home at Frogmore Cottage and are eager to welcome their little one.
"Harry's attention is completely absorbed with the birth of his first child," a source recently told ET. "He can't wait to become a father. He's been doing everything he can to put Meghan at ease."
As for Meghan, the source said that "she'll be a fantastic mother."
"She is so wonderful with children and they are both so excited," the source added.
Watch the video below for more on Harry and Meghan.
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