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Meghan Markle Pays Visit to South African Charity

Meghan Markle is in the news again, but this time it’s not about her chic style or royal status—it’s about her kind heart.

On Wednesday, the Duchess of Sussex paid a visit to mothers2mothers charity, a nonprofit organization based in South Africa that trains and employs HIV positive women as community health workers.

During her visit, Markle donated two large bags of “loved but outgrown” children’s clothes. Some of the items belonged to her five-month-old son, Archie; the rest were provided by family friends.

According to People Magazine, Markle also donated pens, books, and other gifts. She spent much of her visit sitting on the floor with the other mothers while the children played.

“She sat down and within a few moments, she saw that the babies were all being held by their mothers,” said Frank Beadle de Palomo, president and CEO of mothers2mothers charity. “She saw the play mat, she said, ‘Let’s get these babies on the ground.’ She sat on the ground with us. She pulled us down and she just engaged with the children.”

Limpho Nteko, a 29-year-old mother of two who works for the charity, shared her personal story with Markle. Nteko, who came to mothers2mothers in 2013, had already lost one child to HIV. However, she has since had two more who were born HIV negative.

“She was amazing,” Nteko said. “She mentioned that she is a mom as well. She enjoyed playing and at the same time she was paying attention to what the mothers were saying and picking up on what important points they mentioned. That was actually quite amazing.

“I totally forgot she was a duchess. Even though I was nervous, when she entered the room everything was so normal! She’s an incredible person. She makes everyone feel welcomed. She warmed up the place.”

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Organizations

South African Billionaire Gives $10 Million to Fight HIV/AIDS

Patrice Motsepe
Patrice Motsepe. IMG: Flickr via World Economic Forum

Patrice Motsepe, who is a South African Billionaire, has given $10 million to help in the global fight against HIV/AIDS. During the World Economic Forum gathering in Davos, Switzerland, the mining tycoon announced his donation to U2 singer and activist Bono, founder of (RED) campaign.

South Africa, where Motsepe is from, has one of the world’s highest HIV/AIDS adult prevalence rates. Roughly 6 million people, more than 17% of the country’s population, live with the virus according to the World Health Organization.

(RED) has raised more than $240 million since is founding in 2006 to prevent and treat HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. The funds are used for programs in eight African countries – South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia.

Motsepe, who made the gift through his Motsepe Family Foundation, applauded (RED) founder Bono, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other leading donors for the contributions they have made in fighting HIV/AIDS, but noted that there is still a lot of work to be done. ”Bono, the Gates Foundation, The Global Fund and various other donors and governments have done outstanding work in the fight against HIV/Aids, malaria and tuberculosis, but there is still a lot of work to be done,” Motsepe was quoted as saying.

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Organizations Profiles

Elton John & Billie Jean King Raise $700K for AIDS Support

Elton John Helps Raise $700K for AIDS Support
anyamuse / Shutterstock.com

The 21st Annual Mylan World TeamTennis Smash Hits charity event had many famous faces this year: Venus Williams, Elton John, Billie Jean King, Andy Roddick, Marion Bartoli, and more. The celebrities participated in a variety of singles and doubles tennis matches on Nov. 17th in Orlando, FL, to raise money for the Elton John AIDS Foundation and the Hope and Help Center of Central Florida.

A total of 3,662 guests were in attendance at the event, which raised more than $700,000 for the two organizations. And though there were pros like Williams and King playing in the matches, the event was lighthearted and fun.

“It’s not your typical tennis match, said John Isner, who is the top-ranked American male tennis player. “It’s more of a basketball game type feel.”

“It brakes the monotony of just going out there and playing a typical match with your typical crowd, where it’s very quiet,” he added. Indeed, music played between points, the crowd cheered, and players egged each other on throughout the day. And celebrities like Elton John might not have been up to par with the pros, but the crowd went just as wild for his big plays—like hitting the ball for the first time.

The Hope & Help Center of Central Florida aims to save lives through treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS in Central Florida. It was established in 1988 and today has eight locations throughout Florida. The Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) was established by Sir Elton John in 1992, and has headquarters in both New York City and London. The U.S. and U.K. organizations function as separate entities with the same mission: “to reduce the incidence of HIV/AIDS” through various prevention programs, treatment, support services, and more.

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Organizations Resources

Mothers2mothers is out to save the world

Mothers2Mothers
IMG: via m2m.org

Mothers2mothers really is out to save the world. They are an NGO that works to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV. In other words, they want to ensure that women who have HIV and are pregnant receive the proper treatments to prevent genetic transmission. By providing care that is often denied, m2m is empowering women and making a difference.

In 2012, m2m received the Henry R. Kravis Prize in Leadership. The organization has seen stunning success in its HIV treatment clinics in sub-Sahara Africa. With treatment clinics in over 7 countries, m2m has reached over 1 million women.

Marie-Josée Kravis is the selection committee chair for the Kravis Prize, and is also a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute. She has recognized the importance of programs like m2m, especially in underdeveloped nations.

In an interview with m2m Mentor Mother Tlalane Phafoli, Marie-Josée Kravis points out the simplicity of the solution to transmission of HIV. “The treatment is relatively simple, and people don’t seem to understand you can give the pregnant woman a pill,” she says.

“Usually what happens is the mother unknowingly will transmit their virus to the child during pregnancy, labor and delivery, or while they are breastfeeding,” Phafoli explains. “mothers2mothers makes sure that women who are pregnant and HIV positive, once she is given that pill, that treatment, she adheres to the treatment.”

Phafoli goes on to explain to Marie Josée Kravis that this type of program really begins and spreads from the community level. In underdeveloped nations, it has to be a real grassroots movement or mothers won’t even realize they should get tested.

“One of the great injustices of our time is that every day, 1,000 babies in Africa are born with HIV—compared to one a day in the US and Europe,” reads the m2m website. “This is entirely preventable, and mothers2mothers is part of the solution.”

About 98% of babies born in resource-rich countries are HIV-free, as compared to the 40% who are infected at birth in resource-poor countries like Africa. Organizations like m2m stand to make a real change in the world.