To celebrate International Day of Education, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle shared an Instagram post about the importance of access to schooling

By Stephanie Petit
January 24, 2020 02:55 PM

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry may have stepped back from royal life, but they’re continuing to champion their key causes.

To celebrate International Day of Education on Friday, the couple shared a number of photos from their work to promote access to education around the world. In addition to photos from Meghan’s visits to India and Rwanda (before she married Prince Harry), they featured photos from the Duchess of Sussex’s work with her patronage the Association of Commonwealth Universities. Also included were snaps from the pair’s recent tour of Africa, including what appear to be previously unseen group shot from Meghan’s visit to the University of Johannesburg.

“Today, on International Day of Education, we highlight the importance of access to education for all,” they wrote. “The Duchess of Sussex has focused on this both prior to becoming a member of the Royal Family and now as patron of The Association of Commonwealth Universities.”

Meghan Markle
| Credit: SussexRoyal/Instagram

“Over the years, The Duchess has worked in developing communities, such as in Rwanda ?? and India ?? , to find the hindrances to girls’ ability to go to school and furthermore to stay in school. These can include lack of access to clean water, stigma surrounding MHM, cultural taboo, and many more reasons….”

“As President and Vice President of The @Queens_Commonwealth_Trust, The Duke and Duchess thank all those who are working to give access to education for all.”

While they have stepped down as senior working members of the royal family, Meghan, 38, and Harry, 35, have maintained several of their patronages and will keep their roles at the Queen’s Commonwealth Truth — Harry serves as president and Meghan is vice-president.

Meghan Markle
| Credit: SussexRoyal/Instagram
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
| Credit: SussexRoyal/Instagram

Meghan teamed up with World Vision when she starred on Suits, traveling with the humanitarian aid foundation to Rwanda in 2016, and then visiting Delhi and Mumbai in January 2017 — just months after her relationship with Prince Harry went public.

One of the purposes of her trip was to learn more about the stigma surrounding menstruation and lack of access to proper sanitation for young girls in India.

Speaking to the camera, she said: “What we found is that enrollment at this school went up three times as much once the latrines were built so that girls had access to clean hygiene and bathroom facilities while they’re at school.”

The Duchess of Sussex has continued to further the conversation around girls’ education in her royal work by selecting the Association of Commonwealth Universities as one of her first patronages. Established in 1913, the Association of Commonwealth Universities is the world’s first international university network, and remains the only accredited organization representing higher education across the Commonwealth.

Meghan Markle
| Credit: SussexRoyal/Instagram
Prince Harry
| Credit: SussexRoyal/Instagram

Can’t get enough of PEOPLE‘s Royals coverage? Sign up for our free Royals newsletter to get the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more!

Prince Harry appeared at a Sentebale charity event on Sunday, where he spoke candidly about their agreement with the Queen regarding their exit from the royal family — and their continued commitment to their causes.

“It brings me great sadness that it has come to this. The decision that I have made for my wife and I to step back, is not one I made lightly. It was so many months of talks after so many years of challenges,” he told the people gathered.

“And I know I haven’t always gotten it right, but as far as this goes, there really was no other option. What I want to make clear is we’re not walking away, and we certainly aren’t walking away from you.”