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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex tasked one of their closest aides to accept an award on their behalf on Monday evening. As announced earlier this month, Meghan and Prince Harry and their Archewell Foundation were acknowledged by the Human First Coalition for their efforts in supporting Afghans in the wake of the return of the Taliban to power.
James Holt, the executive director of the Archewell Foundation, expressed during the award ceremony held in New York just how honoured the Sussexes were for the Human First’s decision to celebrate their charitable work.
Taking centre stage at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City, Mr Holt said: “Thank you to everyone who is playing such an incredible part in what is a wonderful evening.
“The Duke and Duchess, Prince Harry and Meghan, wanted me to say they are honoured and incredibly humbled by being recognised through their foundation tonight.
“They are sorry they can’t be here in person but they, like me, also believe that tonight’s true honouree is Human First.
Meghan Markle, Prince Harry and the Archewell Foundation were awarded for supporting Afghan refugees
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry at the latest Invictus Games in The Hague
“In moments of crises and at times when we are faced with the worst of humanity, we also get to witness the greatest examples of courage, resilience and compassion.”
Mr Holt went on to say many in the world are finding themselves in difficulty following the Taliban’s return to Afghanistan, the war in Ukraine and the rising costs worldwide.
Stating the job of people wanting to help others is “far from over”, Mr Holt praised Human First and the people in attendance at the award ceremony for their “continuous commitment” to support Afghan refugees and people still living in the country despite Afghanistan no longer being on the front page of newspapers worldwide.
He added: “Following Harry’s military service and two tours in Afghanistan, he was inspired to set up the Invictus Games.
“This time last year, Team Afghanistan was in training.
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Prince Harry launched the Invictus Games in 2014
“But overnight, as with all of you, their trajectory changed.
“As veterans with injuries, their team members and families were in serious danger, and it was thanks to Human First that many were able to leave safely.
“Along with our friends at the Invictus Games Foundation, the Duke and Duchess and I are incredibly grateful to all of you for everything that you have done to help protect them. Thank you.”
The Archewell Foundation, Meghan and Harry were given the Partner Organisation Award by Human First.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry arriving at a gala in New York in November
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have supported several charities through their organisation Archewell
This non-profit was created by former Taliban hostage Safi Rauf to provide food, shelter and support to those in need and facilitate the evacuation and resettlement of Afghans.
As they were introducing Mr Holt on stage, the event’s hosts highlighted the support provided by the Sussexes to Afghan refugees and Human First.
One of the hosts said: “The Duke and Duchess have dedicated themselves tirelessly to aiding our Afghans allies this past year, through partnerships with Human First and Women for Afghan Women, Archewell Foundation assisted with the evacuation of thousands of vulnerable Afghans.”
The host also touched upon the round of donations to organisations close to their hearts announced by Meghan and Harry ahead of Christmas last year.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry got married in May 2018
She said: “In December 2021, Archewell Foundation released significant donations, several, to charities to sustain the resettlement efforts for vulnerable Afghans, including Human First, Welcome.US, Team Rubicon, while encouraging others to follow their lead – and follow their lead they did.
“Further, Archewell Foundation and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have shown a remarkable commitment to veterans, including veterans who served in Afghanistan, most notably through the creation and ongoing support of the Invictus Games, which is an international multi-sport event first held in 2014 for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women.
“And so, it is our pleasure to present the Partner Organisation Award to the executive director of the Archewell Foundation, James Holt.”
Meghan and Harry first put the spotlight on the tragedy taking place in Afghanistan last August, when they were said to have been left “speechless” following the return in power of the Taliban.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry at the opening ceremony of the Invictus Games 2020
In a statement dated August 17, 2021 and shared on Archewell’s website, the Duke and Duchess encouraged their followers to join them in supporting a number of organisations providing support in the Middle Eastern country – such as AfghanAid and Women for Afghan Women – and other vulnerable parts of the world.
In December, Meghan and Harry released a holiday card including their first official picture as a family-of-four.
The card also had a note detailing a number of organisations the Sussexes were supporting, focused on pushing for the cause of paid parental leave in the US, helping American families in need and supporting the resettling of Afghan refugees.
Their message read: “As we look forward to 2022, we have made donations on your behalf to several organizations that honour and protect families – from those being relocated from Afghanistan, to American families in need of paid parental leave: Team Rubicon; Welcome.US; Human First Coalition; Humanity Crew & Paid Leave For All; PL+US; Marshall Plan for Moms.
“Wishing you a happy holiday season and a prosperous New Year, from our family to yours!”