The first project funded by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's foundation is set to open on a hurricane-hit Caribbean island.
Harry and Meghan announced they would be launching Archewell Foundation when they left their roles as senior royals, and in December 2020 they confirmed the first beneficiary of their philanthropy would be World Central Kitchen (WCK).
They announced funding for four centres in places around the world that are disproportionately impacted by “food system challenges”.
On Wednesday 24 February, WCK shared pictures of the first of these kitchens, built in Dominica, which has been badly hit by hurricanes in the last few years.
Sharing an update, WCK said: "We are excited to share an update that construction on the first of the four Centers in the Caribbean Commonwealth nation of Dominica is complete. We are working with local nonprofit RezDM – the Resilient Dominica Project, led by Simon Walsh – and the Ministry of Education to bring the project to life."
Dominica was hit by Hurricane Erika in 2015, which destroyed hundreds of homes. In 2017, it was hit by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria. Maria destroyed 90% of the island's infrastructure.
WCK said the disasters led Dominica to commit to becoming climate-resilient, and so it was "perfectly suited" to be supported by the organisation.
WCK was founded by chef José Andrés. The organisation sets up kitchens in the wake of disasters to provide food to those affected.
Andrés appeared on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's first podcast, which aired over the Christmas period on Spotify.
This centre was built by WCK's relief team inside a primary school that has been constructed to be a safe place in future hurricanes.
WCK's update added: "The kitchen equipment – including refrigerators and freezers that can work entirely off the electrical grid using solar power – is now installed and ready for the school’s staff to cook for students and the community, and we will be launching a culinary training program later in the year."
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Chefs will be taught how to cook for the community and make large amounts of food that can feed groups in the wake of disasters.
WCK says it hopes to be able to serve thousands of meals per day from the centre.
The organisation also announced the second kitchen and centre funded by Archewell will be built in Puerto Rico.
The statement added: "WCK has worked for many years on the island, beginning with our #ChefsForPuertoRico response to Hurricane María.
"After serving nearly 4 million meals in the aftermath of the storm, we launched our Food Producer Network, a program that supports small businesses building a more resilient food system in Puerto Rico."
In a statement released in December, Harry and Meghan said: “The health of our communities depends on our ability to connect to our shared humanity.
“When we think about Chef Andrés and his incredible team at World Central Kitchen, we're reminded that even during a year of unimaginable hardship, there are so many amazing people willing – and working tirelessly – to support each other. World Central Kitchen inspires us through compassion in action.”
Harry and Meghan confirmed at the end of last week that they will not be returning to life as working royals.
The duke was stripped of his honorary military titles and they lost several charity patronages, but were able to maintain other private connections.
They will be speaking to Oprah Winfrey in a 90-minute interview on 7 March, airing on CBS in the US.
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