HARRY AND MEGHAN PICK CHARITY FOR GUEST DONATIONS
A WOMEN’S charity based in Mumbai’s slums is among select organisations chosen by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle as recipients of donations in place of gifts for their royal wedding next month.
Myna Mahila Foundation is among seven charities picked by the couple as they announced on Monday (9) that anyone who might wish to mark their wedding day on May 19 should consider making a donation to one of the charities, rather than sending a wedding gift.
The foundation, which aims to offer Mumbai women stable employment close to their homes as well as breaking taboos around menstrual hygiene by offering them access to low-cost sanitary napkins, was chosen by Markle after she saw its work first-hand during a visit to India last year, Kensington Palace said.
“Myna Mahila Foundation is delighted to be a part of this special occasion for Ms Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. This support will enable us to expand our reach into more urban slums in Mumbai, empowering local women through access to menstrual hygiene products and employment opportunities,” said Suhani Jalota, who founded the charity in 2015.
The foundation provides training in women’s health, English, maths and life skills such as self-defence. It also makes sanitary products which are then distributed by women from the city’s slums as part of professional and personal support to help them “grow as individuals and businesswomen”.
The organisation helps around 10,000 women every month. Markle had written about the charity in Time magazine after her visit to Mumbai in March last year.
“During my time in the slum communities outside of Mumbai, I shadowed women who are part of a microfinance system where they manufacture sanitary napkins and sell them within the community,” the American actress wrote.
“The namesake of the organisation, Myna Mahila Foundation, refers to a chatty bird (Myna) and Mahila meaning woman. The name echoes the undercurrent of this issue: we need to speak about it, to be chatty about it,” she said.
Kensington Palace said Harry and Markle do not have any formal relationships with the charities chosen.
“The couple have chosen charities which represent a range of issues that they are passionate about, including sport for social change, women’s empowerment, conservation, the environment, homelessness, HIV and the armed forces. Many of these are small charities, and the couple are pleased to be able to amplify and shine a light on their work,” the palace said.
Among other charities chosen are the Children’s HIV Association (CHIVA), which supports children growing up with HIV and their families across the UK and Ireland; Crisis, Britain’s national charity for homeless people; Scotty’s Little Soldiers, a charity for bereaved Armed Forces children; StreetGames, which uses sport to change lives across Britain; Surfers Against Sewage, a UK-based marine conservation and campaigning charity; and the Wilderness Foundation UK, which promotes the benefits and enjoyment of wild nature.
“Prince Harry and Ms Meghan Markle are incredibly grateful for the goodwill shown to them since the announcement of their engagement and are keen that as many people as possible benefit from this generosity of spirit,” the palace statement added.
Harry, 33, and Markle, 36, are set to wed at St Georges Chapel at Windsor Castle on May 19.