DIAMOND STORIES FROM SOUTHERN AFRICA

Creating Artisans

On a normal day, Chris gets out of bed with the sun and starts his morning with the news. After breakfast, he gets ready for work and conveniently drops his kids off at school along the way. His commute ends at his unique workplace – the Leo Schachter Molepolole Diamond Polishing Factory in Botswana.

Since he was a child, Chris Mamamelala always dreamed of working with diamonds as he watched the low-flying aircraft fly overhead in search of diamonds.

On a normal day, Chris gets out of bed with the sun and starts his morning with the news. After breakfast, he gets ready for work and conveniently drops his kids off at school along the way. His commute ends at his unique workplace - the Leo Schachter Molepolole Diamond Polishing Factory in Botswana.

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Gentle Giants

In 1900, elephants, the planet’s largest land creature, had a population of over 10 million worldwide. But with the rise of international trade and the sale of ivory, these friendly giants were no match for poachers and hunters. It wasn’t until ninety years had passed that the impact of the ivory trade really sank in. In 1990, with the elephant decimated to less than one million, the international ivory trade was finally declared illegal in an effort to slow the damage that had already been done.

In 1900, elephants, the planet’s largest land creature, had a population of over 10 million worldwide. But with the rise of international trade and the sale of ivory, these friendly giants were no match for poachers and hunters. It wasn’t until ninety years had passed that the impact of the ivory trade really sank in. In 1990, with the elephant decimated to less than one million, the international ivory trade was finally declared illegal in an effort to slow the damage that had already been done.

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A Community effort

In September, 1966, Botswana won independence from Great Britain, pushing forward to establish their own democracy.  Yet, despite their monumental achievement, it was not always smooth sailing for the small country.  Over the last fifty years they have struggled to keep not only their history and to preserve their wildlife, but in the early eighties, Botswana was taken by a widespread epidemic of HIV, affecting a quarter of their adult population.

In September, 1966, Botswana won independence from Great Britain, pushing forward to establish their own democracy. Yet, despite their monumental achievement, it was not always smooth sailing for the small country. Over the last fifty years they have struggled to keep not only their history and to preserve their wildlife, but in the early eighties, Botswana was taken by a widespread epidemic of HIV, affecting a quarter of their adult population.

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Empowering the Next Generation of Women

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.

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.

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Against All Odds

Growing up with her grandparents because her mom was homeless, Goabaone Wetshootsile thought many times how impossible it would be to turn her life around. When Goabaone graduated with a Junior Secondary Certificate, she was jobless for 10 years until Leo Schachter offered her a trainee position polishing diamonds in 1994. Leo Schachter founded the Kalahari Dream® Diamond to tell the amazing stories of their Botswana employees such as Goabaone. Their Botswana manufacturing facility has provided sustainable jobs to the local community for two decades.

Growing up with her grandparents because her mom was homeless, Goabaone Wetshootsile thought many times how impossible it would be to turn her life around. When Goabaone graduated with a Junior Secondary Certificate, she was jobless for 10 years until Leo Schachter offered her a trainee position polishing diamonds in 1994.

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Every Child in Botswana

How is it possible that every child in Botswana receives free primary education? Festus Mogae, President of Botswana, said, “For our people, every diamond purchase represents food on the table; better living conditions, better healthcare, potable and safe drinking water, more roads to connect our remote communities; and much more.”

When diamonds were discovered in Botswana in 1966, there were only three secondary schools. Today there are more than 300.

How is it possible that every child in Botswana receives free primary education? Festus Mogae, President of Botswana, said, “For our people, every diamond purchase represents food on the table; better living conditions, better healthcare, potable and safe drinking water, more roads to connect our remote communities; and much more.”

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We Rise Together

Outside the town of Orapa, Botswana, lies a singular mine with some impressive initiatives focused on the surrounding communities. The Orapa mine fully funds two hospitals that not only provide medical care for mine employees, but serve as district hospitals for local neighborhoods. The mine has poured millions into the hospitals and health and welfare programs over the last few years.

The mine is proud to be a part of a Corporate Social Investment program, OLDM (Orapa, Letlhakane and Damtshaa Mines). The program has invested over 4 million pula in community development.

Outside the town of Orapa, Botswana, lies a singular mine with some impressive initiatives focused on the surrounding communities. The Orapa mine fully funds two hospitals that not only provide medical care for mine employees, but serve as district hospitals for local neighborhoods. The mine has poured millions into the hospitals and health and welfare programs over the last few years.

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Not Just Diamonds

The Cullinan Mine, one of several mines our diamonds come from, sits outside the town of Cullinan in southern Africa. The mine is heralded for its spectacular and famous diamonds, including the mine’s namesake, the largest diamond ever found. But beyond its wealth and fame, the mine has moved other kinds of mountains to improve the quality of life for the community of Cullinan, and its neighbors Refilwe and Rayton, through a wide variety of humanitarian projects.

The Cullinan Charity Fund fills its ranks with mine employees volunteering their time and treasure at one or more critical projects in the area.

The Cullinan Mine, one of several mines our diamonds come from, sits outside the town of Cullinan in southern Africa. The mine is heralded for its spectacular and famous diamonds, including the mine’s namesake, the largest diamond ever found.

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FOSTERING LOCAL LEADERSHIP

As a child, Chris Mamalelala marveled at the low-flying planes soaring above his small village in eastern Botswana. The pilots, he was told, were diamond explorers, piquing the curiosity of his 7-year-old imagination.

It wasn’t until his third year at Botswana University, where he studied physics on a government scholarship given to high academic achievers, that he understood that those planes were part of a vast diamond industry that had shaped his country for the better.

As a child, Chris Mamalelala marveled at the low-flying planes soaring above his small village in eastern Botswana. The pilots, he was told, were diamond explorers, piquing the curiosity of his 7-year-old imagination.

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