Students at the Moime Primary School participate in the Gemological Institute of America’s Junior Gemologist program.
Johannesburg--A Gemological Institute of America sponsorship of two Mandela Day libraries has made 2,500 educational books available to students in rural South Africa.

The Mandela Day libraries project aims to bridge the gap in literacy and reading proficiency in schools throughout South Africa by recycling and retrofitting large shipping containers with new flooring, insulation, electricity and shelves to create libraries. Breadline Africa, a nongovernmental organization and internationally registered South African-based charity, is the program’s main partner.

The GIA and its employees donated an additional 1,500 books to the two libraries it sponsored, which are benefitting nearly 1,100 students at the Moime and Refentse primary schools in Limpopo, South Africa.

“We’re thrilled to bring these libraries to the students … and hope they further ignite their interest in education,” said Bev Hori, chief learning officer and vice president of education at the GIA. “We look forward to sponsoring two more libraries over the next few years.”

As part of the dedication of the libraries, which took place on Feb. 19 and 20, the GIA also hosted 20 students ages 13 to 15 for its Junior Gemologist program. Introduced in Africa in 2012, the program gives students the opportunity to explore gemology hands-on with practical training.

The GIA’s sponsorship of the Mandela Day libraries project is funded by the GIA endowment, which supports education and scholarship programs.

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