Duchess Meghan makes surprise appearance via Skype as Prince Harry steps out to support girls’ education in Malawi

By Zach Harper

Duchess Meghan and Prince Harry reunited – sort of – via video link from South Africa on Sept. 29 while the Duke of Sussex visited a school in Malawi to learn about girls’ education.

Harry was at Lilongwe’s Nalikule College of Education for an engagement supporting the Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED) and CAMA, its alumni network of women the organization has helped finish secondary school. Meghan was eager to hear about the progress CAMFED has made, and was given a special musical welcome, to which she responded by clapping and dancing along via video.

When Harry arrived at the school, the students said hello to him in a similar way, by singing about how CAMFED has helped them gain access to education.

Both Harry and Meghan were very touched by the welcome.

“Your singing is extraordinary,” Harry said, according to tweets from CAMFED. “If you could just be with me everywhere I go, that would be great.”

Harry met with 40 young women who are members of CAMA, along with Angeline Murimirwa, CAMFED’s Executive Director. Meghan was also pleased to see Angeline.

“Angie, when you and I first met, I was so struck by CAMA and everything you do,” she said via video link.

Harry also met Rose Alexander, a CAMA leader and passionate activist who was raised by her grandmother after her mother passed away when she was just six years old. CAMFED supported her throughout her secondary school education, and she graduated in 2014.

Rose has an incredible story! Photo: © CAMFED

Rose has since been selected to be the core trainer to help manage a new CAMFED program to reduce child and early marriages among girls and women where she lives. She is passionate about preventing child marriage, and reports such cases as child abuse to the Social Welfare Office, according to CAMFED. She is also active in teaching about women’s sexual and reproductive health, and also trains members of her community on HIV/AIDS, and even more amazingly, has paid for seven girls to attend secondary school. Four of those girls have since graduated.

Rose presented Harry with a book from CAMA that is full of its members’ stories, and told Harry she hoped Archie will also enjoy it.

Harry and Meghan are the President and Vice-President of The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, which has helped launch The CAMA Fund to expand access to education for girls and young women in countries such as Ghana, Tanzania, Zambia and Malawi. Girls and young women are supported in their secondary school education through UKAid bursaries via CAMFED.

PHOTOS: The best pictures from Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan’s royal tour of southern Africa

CAMFED has sent 3.3 million girls to school across sub-Saharan Africa in 25 years, the organization says. In an interview with HELLO! Canada, Angeline praised what Harry and Meghan, who are passionate advocates of gender equality and women’s rights, have done to help make that possible.

“Both the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have a longstanding belief in young people and passionately support their ability to change lives in their communities with innovative, creative ideas and quality leadership,” Angeline said. “Together, Their Royal Highnesses are committed to championing young leaders as a global movement for good, and believe it is young people today who are leading the way.”

Angeline and Harry were thrilled to see each other! Photo: © Dominic Lipinski - Pool/Getty Images

A staggering 52.2 million girls are out of school in sub-Saharan Africa, Angeline told HELLO! Canada. She stressed that when girls and young women are not in school, they are “denied their right to education” and to “living an independent life full of potential.” There is a further disturbing complication, Angeline said, in that it puts them at risk of child marriage.

“With high youth unemployment, and deeply embedded gender norms, young women graduates can face an abyss after school, with few job prospects in their communities, again facing the threat of early marriage,” Angeline told HELLO! Canada. “Moving to towns and cities to find work as house maids, for example, also leaves young women open to abuse or exploitation. However, while starting their own business is often the best choice, young women lack the business training, financial literacy skills, and access to loans or land required to run profitable businesses.

CAMFED has helped send 3.3 million girls to school in sub-Saharan Africa over 25 years. Photo: © Dominic Lipinski - Pool/Getty Images

“Having access to a quality education is one of the best ways to combat early marriage,” Angeline continued.

Later on Sept. 29, Harry will meet with Malawian President Peter Mutharika, and will also have a reception at the British High Commissioner’s residence. He will be in Malawi until Oct. 1, and then will return to South Africa, where he and Duchess Meghan will reunite for a series of engagements on Oct. 2, the day their tour wraps.

MORE: Full coverage of Duchess Meghan and Prince Harry’s royal tour of southern Africa

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