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Forevermark Celebrates International Women’s Day

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(Press Release)

NEW YORK, NY – In celebration of International Women’s Day, and as part of its ongoing commitment to the advancement of women, Forevermark shares the story of Zimele fund recipient and entrepreneur Sophia Mphuthi, along with engine operator Alice Mandiwana.

Sophia Mphuthi started her own business as a driving instructor. With the support of De Beers’ Zimele program, an enterprise development initiative funding and supporting South Africans to build their own successful small to medium enterprise (SME), Sophia was able to extend her driving school based in Kimberley, South Africa from car to truck driving. She now offers free training to women, opening new opportunities to them.

Alice Mandiwana’s story echoes Sophia’s. A trained firefighter, Alice couldn’t find employment until she was offered training to become an engine operator at De Beers’ Venetia Mine in the Limpopo Province, South Africa. Alice received full training to operate off-road haul trucks, and she is now one of the mine’s top performing drivers.

Forevermark, as part of The De Beers Group of companies, aims to support local employment and career development for women. Women represent 23.8 percent of The De Beers Group of Companies workforce, against 16 percent in the mining industry as a whole. As a result of several programs designed to develop and retain female talent, De Beers Consolidated Mines was named South Africa’s Top Gender Empowered Resources Company at the Standard Bank Top Women Award last year.

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“Women wearing Forevermark diamonds can take pride in the advancement that our diamonds bring to women living in producing countries,” says Forevermark CEO Stephen Lussier. “Women play a strategic role in our diamond journey, and we are pleased to highlight their important contribution not only in the diamond industry but also in local communities.”

Photojournalist Annie Griffiths documented Forevermark’s responsible sourcing efforts while touring Southern Africa last summer. As the founder and executive director of Ripple Effects Images, a non-profit organization highlighting programs helping to empower women, Griffiths was interested in how diamonds connected women across vast distances and cultural divides. “That diamond on your finger has been through an incredible journey, and some incredible women have helped to put it there,” she said. “Following a Forevermark diamond journey was an outstanding experience. There is such a strong connection between diamonds and conservation. I could also witness how much diamonds benefit local communities, especially women.”

To discover Sophia’s and Alice’s story along with Annie Griffith’s journey and images, visit www.forevermark.com.

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