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Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend the Commonwealth Day Youth Event at Canada House in London, March 11, 2019.
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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Donate to Women’s Shelter Damaged by Texas Snowstorm

Why Global Citizens Should Care
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in domestic violence cases worldwide. Women and girls are particularly vulnerable when it comes to gender-based violence, and organizations that help survivors escape their abusers are necessary. Take action to learn more about how to support victims of gender-based violence here.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry stepped in to offer their support to the Genesis Women's Shelter & Support, an organization that provides services to domestic violence survivors, after it sustained major damage and flooding due to an unprecedented winter storm in Texas.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex made a sizable donation through their non-profit organization, the Archewell Foundation, according to People. The donation will allow the women’s shelter in Dallas to replace a damaged roof and make functional repairs to Annie's House, the transitional housing facility that provides safe housing for women and children to begin rebuilding their lives.

The Archewell Foundation’s core purpose is “to uplift and unite communities — local and global, online and offline — one act of compassion at a time.” It released a statement about the donation on behalf of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, according to the Dallas Morning News.

“They encourage everyone to continue compassionately supporting the people of Texas during this emergency, in whatever way they can or are able, and hope this directed donation will bring relief, comfort, and certainty to the entire Genesis community,” the foundation said.

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Genesis Women's Shelter & Support opened in Dallas in 1985 with the goal of providing safety, shelter, and support for women who have experienced domestic violence. Last week, the shelter closed for the first time in 35 years after frigid temperatures and snowfall knocked out power throughout Texas, including at Genesis’ emergency shelter and apartments. Genesis CEO Jan Langbein confirmed the damage was caused by burst pipes and flooding.

“We had to literally chain our doors at both our shelter and our transitional housing because of power outages and pipes bursting and water flooding,” Langbein told the Dallas Morning News. “It has been not only just really devastating to our facilities, but I keep thinking of the women who had to grab their children and a few belongings and run in the night when they first came to Genesis, and they had to do it all over again.”

The nonprofit had to relocate 29 women and 58 children due to the damage and was unable to accept new clients. After receiving support and donations from people across the country, Langbein tweeted that the shelter had reopened.

The winter storm in Texas devastated the state’s energy grid, resulting in power outages that left millions without heat or electricity as temperatures fell well below freezing. Low-income families and communities of color bore the brunt of the crisis due to housing inequities, according to the Texas Tribune.

Neighborhoods that share circuits with critical facilities like hospitals had access to electricity, while densely-populated urban centers that have a higher percentage of low-income residents did not. Cities across the state set up warming centers for residents who didn’t have power, but the lack of available public transportation prevented many residents from accessing this resource.

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Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, domestic violence against women and girls has intensified throughout the world, according to UN Women. For this reason, organizations like Genesis Women’s Shelter & Support are more important than ever.

“The gift from Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, is literally going to put a roof back over the heads of the moms and children of Genesis,” Langbein said. “The thought of the literal meaning of that, and then the figurative meaning of that — that they care enough to put a roof over the heads of people who have none — just warms my heart.”