It takes a village to finance someone's varsity education, says Meghan Markle
Education is an issue that is "truly and deeply important and meaningful to me on a personal level", Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, said during a visit to the University of Johannesburg's Auckland Park campus on Tuesday.
The duchess joined students, academics and members of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU), of which she is a patron, for a round-table discussion about the challenges young women face as they pursue higher education.
"Education, I think higher education specifically, is such a key element for growth, for economic growth, but also personal growth and development," said Meghan.
"If you don't have the support that is necessary that you feel you can keep taking the next step, then you're stunted in growth," she said.
"So much of that is, of course, having the support of funding for students who are eager to learn."
The duchess said it takes a village to finance someone's university education with "families chipping in" and scholarships. She admitted she was only able to graduate from university thanks to such financial assistance.
That's why she was "very, very happy" to announce that the ACU has awarded three new gender grants to the universities of Johannesburg, Stellenbosch and Western Cape.
"The goal here is to be able to have gender equality, to be able to support women as they are working in research and higher education roles," she said.
"When a woman is empowered it changes absolutely everything in the community, and starting an educational atmosphere is really a key point of that."
The duchess also announced four new Queen Elizabeth Commonwealth Scholarships that she said would see students from Tanzania, Zambia and Nigeria study in South Africa next year.
• Additional reporting Reuters