Mumbai's Myna Mahila NGO to attend royal wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
The Royal Wedding is all set to take place on May 19, and while Meghan Markle is busy preparing to tie the knot with Prince Harry, the Mumbai-based organisation Myna Mahila is on its way to attend the wedding. Expectedly, for many in the group, this will be a royal dream come true. The non-profit organisation is one among seven charities officially invited to the royal wedding. Interestingly, while six of them are from the UK, Mumbai’s Myna Mahila Foundation is the only one from India on the list.
American actress Meghan Markle visited various charities in Delhi and Mumbai in 2017, but narrowed down on the NGO Myna Mahila founded by Suhani Jalota, which focuses on selling affordable sanitary napkins in the slums of Mumbai. “When Meghan came, we did not know that she was so famous, but she stayed in the hostel near us and visited us every morning to see how we worked. Every time we insisted that she sit on a chair, she would refuse and sit with us on the floor,” says Mumtaz Ansari, a resident of Mumbai’s Govandi area, who has been with the NGO since its inception. The volunteer, who was previously a housewife, took up the task to help other women over two-and-a-half years ago, when founder Suhani took up the task to educate women in the slums of Mumbai about menstrual hygiene.
While Suhani Jalota is already on her way to attend the Royal Wedding, she will be accompanied by three other women for the occasion. Mumbai-based Imogen Mansfield, who is the key strategist at Myna Mahila along with Deborah Das and Archana Ambre, will be a part of the celebration. The latter two work as office managers, and as this will be the first time that they travel by air to anywhere in the world, they are really excited to be a part of the team. The women will be dressed in colourful sarees provided by the clothing brand Raw Mango, as they witness their first Royal Wedding in their lives. ”We have made a lot of preparations for the wedding, and since Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have said that they do not want gifts, we have made calligraphy tokens shaped like the Myna bird, with congratulatory wishes from our whole team to be given to the royal couple,” says Sumati Joshi, a volunteer at Myna Mahila Foundation.
As part of their presence at the reception of the Royal Wedding, Myna Mahila will be hosting a chaat party with a live-counter at the Calcutta Canteen in Fulham. Guests can savour delicious chaat from the streets of Mumbai at a minimum fee in order to help with a fundraiser for the NGO in Mumbai. They will also be auctioning portraits and postcards of the 18-member all-women team in Mumbai as part of the ‘Portrait Project’ to raise money for the NGO back home.
Interestingly, Myna Mahila will not be the only Indian organisation celebrating the Royal Wedding, as the Dabbawallas of Mumbai will also be distributing sweets along with their daily tiffin delivery to people all across Mumbai. Like Myna Mahila foundation, the dabbawallas were a part of the celebrations when Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, tied the knot with Camilla Parker-Bowles in 2005. Two representatives from the organisation had been invited for the Royal Wedding and were even termed as ‘Management Gurus’.
A spokesperson from the organisation said that ever since Prince Charles invited them for the wedding, he has been their friend, and if there is a wedding, then it means it is a wedding in their homes, and they will celebrate it too. The organisation will also be providing free meals to the relatives of the patients at the government-run Tata Memorial hospital, KEM hospital and Wadia Hospital in Mumbai. They also intend to send a pair of traditional Maharashtrian attire for the royal couple as a gift on their wedding day, and are hoping that the consulate will help them fulfil their dream.
The Royal Wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will take place at the Windsor Castle, in St George’s Chapel on May 19.