The Diamond Development Initiative (DDI) has received a grant from jewellery retailer Brilliant Earth for the mobile schooling program in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The contribution will support the second year of programming for one class of students, as well as the addition of a new group of children to form another class.
The Brilliant Mobile School, one of two that were launched in 2015, offers a two-year remedial curriculum, in order to prepare children for national exams and the opportunity to progress on to high school.
The DDI established its mobile schooling program, "Sending schools to kids," in response to a need expressed by artisanal diamond mining communities. Schools are often far away from the mining villages, and children who miss out on formal education may end up working in the mining fields. Finding a way to get them back to school is the top priority of their parents.
The DDI, with support from Brilliant Earth, has provided a facility, uniforms, school materials, and daily meals for the students, as well as training teachers and sending them into the community. Villagers have participated in the project through construction, furniture building, security and maintenance.
According to Dorothée Gizenga, Executive Director of the DDI, the early results of the mobile schooling program are a clear indicator of the benefits of the program, and the enormous need. "This small group of children is receiving high quality education that could enable them to break the cycle of poverty," she says. "But there are hundreds, even thousands of children like them in artisanal mining communities in Africa. We call on local and international partners to do more to respond to this need."
She added, ”Through this donation, Brilliant Earth is ensuring continuity and showing the example."
Beth Gerstein, co-founder and CEO of Brilliant Earth says, "The work of the DDI to improve the conditions of artisanal diamond miners and their families aligns with our own mission to provide jewellery that consumers can be proud to wear. We are happy to invest in the lives of these students and offer them a better future.”
The Brilliant Earth funding comes after the Diamond Empowerment Fund (DEF) also agreed to sponsor a class in the Brilliant Mobile schools for a second year.