(PRESS RELEASE) OTTAWA - Diamond Development Initiative (DDI) acknowledges Brilliant Earth's renewed commitment to access to education for children in the DRC. A recent grant from the jewelry retailer will support phase II of the access to education program, which accompanies elementary school graduates through their first year of high school.
DDI's High School Support Program (HSSP) is designed to follow up on the success of the students engaged in the mobile schools in artisanal diamond mining communities. At the end of the two-year remedial program, 100 per cent of the students passed their national exams and qualified themselves for entry into high school. DDI intends to continue supporting their academic journey.
With the help of partners like Brilliant Earth, DDI is working to ensure that winning conditions are in place for these students. The new program provides for payment of school fees, uniforms and school supplies, as well as ensuring basic daily meals. DDI has a system in place to follow up on individual students' academic performance and social well-being. To mitigate the risk of dropping out, training on the importance of education and on basic health and sex education will be delivered in high schools and in the community.
According to Dorothée Gizenga, Executive Director of DDI, the High School Support Program is a natural and necessary follow-on to the Mobile Schooling program. "DDI demonstrated that children in mining communities preferred school to working in the mines if they had the choice. We want to continue to give them that opportunity by accompanying them through this next phase of their life-defining journey."
"We thank Brilliant Earth for making this possible."
Beth Gerstein, co-founder and CEO of Brilliant Earth says, "We have watched these children progress through the remedial elementary school program and we are so proud of their success. We look forward to working with DDI to support their future achievements."
With an elementary school diploma in hand, this young man is now in high school.