Diamond polisher Kemmonye Kgatitswe was born in Botswana in 1973. Despite her country’s growing economy, her family lived in poverty, squeezing out an existence as farmers. This demanding work does not often provide a chance for a better future. The Kalahari Dream® Diamond was conceived to empower women just like Kemmonye. She is the first of seven children and took on the mantle of responsibility for her siblings. She never went to college and despite her complete lack of work experience Leo Schachter hired her in 1994 to work in their Botswana manufacturing plant. They gave her the necessary training to become a diamond polisher, forever changing her life.
That year nearly a quarter of working-age women in Botswana were unemployed, 22.7% according to worldbank.org. The opportunity to polish Leo Schachter diamonds, and now Kalahari Dream Diamonds, brought a stable income and the ability to not only provide for herself, but also for her siblings, who were all in school at the time. She even expanded her parent’s house, a unique blessing in Botswana. Not two years after Leo Schachter hired her, Kemmonye gave birth to a daughter. She now has two girls and four boys whom she takes care of as a single mother.
Many women with such responsibilities are often alone and drown under the burden, unable to find work and community to support a decent living. It is because of the life-changing stories like Kemmonye’s that Leo Schachter founded the Kalahari Dream Diamond. Kemmonye rose from a young diamond polishing trainee to become one of the best diamond polishers the company employs. She is well respected and a vital part of their operational efficiency.
While proud of her accomplishments, Kemmonye is most proud of her eldest daughter who is studying for a career as a Nurse Assistant in one of Botswana’s colleges. This is a major milestone for Kemmonye and her family. Higher education gives her daughter a greater chance of meaningful employment and quality of life. Your Kalahari Dream Diamond may have been skillfully polished by someone like Kemmonye, and her achievements are what the Kalahari Dream Diamond strives to symbolize.
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