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Diamond Empowerment Fund Grants $130,000 in Scholarships

The two recipients “epitomize the convergence of excellence in education with holistic sustainable development”.

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(Press Release) NEW YORK – The Diamond Empowerment Fund and its board of directors have approved a $100,000 grant to Veerayatan, the first educational institution in India to receive funding from D.E.F., and a $30,000 grant to the Diamond Development Initiative, to fund the D.E.F. Mobile School for students in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Diamond Empowerment Fund’s mission is to support initiatives that develop and empower people in diamond communities worldwide.

“Veerayatan and DDI epitomize the convergence of excellence in education with holistic sustainable development,” said Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., senior strategic advisor and co-founder of the Diamond Empowerment Fund. “These institutions are making a positive transformative difference in India and in Africa.”

This is the fund’s second consecutive year supporting Veerayatan, whose innovative approach to education has made a difference in the quality of life of thousands of students. D.E.F. supports students attending the colleges of pharmacy, engineering and business administration, fields of study underrepresented by women — a challenge Veerayatan, in partnership with the Diamond Empowerment Fund, is looking to overcome. “Veerayatan is a model for encouraging the development of responsible citizens who are educated, have strong integrity, and a motivation to give back to their community,” said Veerayatan’s education director, Sadhvi Shilapiji.

Also in its second year of support from the fund, the Diamond Development Initiative’s Diamond Empowerment Mobile School consists of traveling teachers and portable materials that are brought to the Kankala mining community of the Kasaï Occidentale province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo for a condensed school year. This community is in a remote location where children, particularly girls, would not otherwise have full access to education. Dorothée Gizenga, executive director and co-founder of the Diamond Development Initiative, received the first Diamonds Do Good Award for Sustainable Practices at the D.E.F. Diamonds Do Good Awards Gala this past June for her work with the initiative and the mobile school project. “Our main objective is to transform the artisanal mining sector into a viable economic activity and to upgrade the way artisanal miners mine,” Gizenga said. “It’s important to tell the story of how diamonds can be an agent for development. We cannot change everything overnight, but be part of that solution with us and we’ll make the journey together.”

Students at the Diamond Empowerment Mobile School in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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