The Duchess of Sussex signed six or seven bananas that were included in care packages delivered to the women on the streets of Bristol

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February 04, 2019 01:54 PM

When Meghan Markle spontaneously wrote uplifting messages of support on bananas for women on the streets of Bristol being helped by a local charity, she did more than graphically reach out to them on a cold, wintry afternoon.

It showed “she understood that the way we help the women and the approach that we take is what matters, what works,” says Anna Smith, One25‘s CEO.

Smith watched as Meghan, 37, and Prince Harry, 34, instantly connect with their outreach program during their visit to the charity’s center in Bristol on Friday.

“Our approach to giving unconditional love and support is what builds trust — and how that works and helps them move on,” Smith says.

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Meghan signed six or seven bananas that were included in care packages delivered last Friday evening. But the women inside the center were also helped by the couple. At one point, Harry listened to one of the women talk about her experiences and “he leaned across the table and took her hand and said, ‘You nailed it.’ She’s been on the ceiling with excitement since then. She’s so happy,” Smith adds.

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“At the bottom of all this is self-esteem and self worth for the women who may have come from a background of being sexually abused or a life in care and where their families don’t support them in the way they should,” Smith tells PEOPLE.

“To be told by someone in the public eye that they are worth it and that they value what they’ve said and done is a massive part of that process.”

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Smith adds, “They genuinely seemed to care about the women that we work with and it’s great to put the spotlight on them because they’re hidden and misunderstood a lot of the time.”

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The charity looks after around 240 women a year, and about 160 are working on the street at any one time. And they won’t forget how the couple’s visit and Meghan’s gesture made an impact.

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“[Meghan] came across to me as a very intelligent woman who sees and cares about what goes on around her and about those who haven’t had the chances in life that everybody else has had — which is true of our women.”

“They were very keen to point out that what we do makes a difference and every day we do this we are making a difference to the lives of women.”

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