Meghan hugged by eight-year-old during Johannesburg charity visit

The Duchess of Sussex was greeted with flowers and a hug when she visited a charity in Johannesburg.

Meghan carried out the solo engagement at Action Aid in South Africa to discuss gender-based violence.

Eight-year-old Luyanda, who presented the duchess with a large bouquet, gave a curtsy before wrapping her arms around the royal’s waist.

A thrilled Meghan crouched down to receive pictures of “love” – hearts, clouds and a cross – especially drawn for her by Luyanda.

The event was the duchess’s second engagement of the day after an earlier visit to the University of Johannesburg, while the Duke of Sussex is in Malawi.

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This morning, The Duchess of Sussex went back to college!  Joining students and educators at The University of Johannesburg The Duchess was able to announce a new series of gender grants from the Association of Commonwealth Universities, of which she is patron. She was also able to announce four new scholarships to help students study in different commonwealth countries, allowing cross cultural understanding and an opportunity to deepen their educational studies abroad. One of the recipients of these grants shared his story of growing up on farmland in Kenya, where he paid for his education trading vegetables to cover schooling costs (cauliflower leaves to be exact!) He is now doing a research study on carcinogens in his country, its link to cancer – his work is helping to change practices and to save lives. The Duchess was so moved by the work being done across the education sector and to talk with such like-minded thinkers about the importance of access to education and the support needed internally. When the round table discussion this morning moved to the challenges faced in this sector and how daunting it can all seem, The Duchess said, “Sometimes access to education can seem so big, you wonder where to even begin? So you begin with one student, or one school, you simply begin. And that’s when we see change.” She continued by referencing a Martin Luther King Jr quote: “Take the first step… you don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” Since the ACU Gender Grants were launch in 2016, 28 universities in 17 countries have benefited with a minimum of 600 beneficiaries participating in workshops supported by the grants. #RoyalVisitSouthAfrica Photo ©️ PA images

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The duchess, who had switched into an olive shirt dress by ethical brand Room 502, was met by Nondumiso Nsibande, country director of ActionAid South Africa and Fiona Clark from the British High Commission.

Meghan was joining a conversation about the nature of violence against women and girls and the work they are undertaking to tackle it.

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