DDI Brings Schools to Artisan Diamond Mining Communities

SourcingAug 25, 2016

DDI Brings Schools to Artisan Diamond Mining Communities

The Diamond Development Initiative has received grants from the Diamond Empowerment Fund and Brilliant Earth to fund the schools.

Pictured here are students at one of the Diamond Development Initiative’s mobile schools, which are funded by the Diamond Empowerment Fund and Brilliant Earth.

Ottawa, Ontario--The Diamond Development Initiative’s motto is: If you can’t send kids to school, then send schools to kids.

The Diamond Development Initiative (DDI) announced it has received two grants, one from nonprofit Diamond Empowerment Fund and the other from ethical jewelry retailer Brilliant Earth, to fund its mobile schooling program.

The DDI’s mobile schools were enacted to meet the needs of artisan diamond mining communities where schools are far away, making it likely for children to work in mining fields with their parents, rather than pursue education.

Through grants, the schools provide a physical facility, uniforms, meals and school materials. They also train teachers and involve the community through construction, security and maintenance.

The two existing mobile schools were established in 2015 in the Democratic Republic of Congo, offering two-year remedial educational programs to students. The programs aim to prepare them for reintegration into formal education upon completion.

The Diamond Empowerment Fund, which funded one of the schools, called the “Diamond Empowerment Mobile School,” has donated a grant to fund the second year of programming for the school’s 20 students. The school is located in Kankala, a mining village in the Kasai Occidental province in the DRC.

“We recognize that we are barely scratching the surface," said Dorothée Gizenga, Executive Director of DDI. “All children, from elementary and secondary levels, should be in school. But today, thanks to the Diamond Empowerment Fund, there are 20 children in Kankala who are receiving a good education. Twenty children with the chance to succeed are bringing hope to their village. And this is only the beginning.”

Brilliant Earth, which is responsible for the creation of the second school created in 2015, the Brilliant Mobile School, has provided funding for that school’s second year of programming, as well as additional funding to introduce a new class of children to the school, allowing 20 more students the opportunity for education.

Beth Gerstein, Brilliant Earth’s co-founder and CEO commented, “The work of DDI to improve the conditions of artisanal diamond miners and their families aligns with our own mission to provide jewelry that consumers can be proud to wear. We are happy to invest in the lives of these students and offer them a better future.”

Gizenga noted, “This small group of children is receiving high quality education that could enable them to break the cycle of poverty. Through this donation, Brilliant Earth is ensuring continuity and showing the example.”


more information on the Diamond Development Initiative and how to get involved, visit

Further information on their partners, the Diamond Empowerment Fund and Brilliant Earth, can be found on their websites.

“There are hundreds, even thousands of children like them in artisanal mining communities in Africa,” Gizenga said of the mobile school students. “We call on local and international partners to do more to respond to this need.”
Ashley Davisis the senior editor, fashion at National Jeweler, covering all things related to design, style and trends.

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