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GIA Collaborates With Nelson Mandela Foundation on Literacy Program

Jul 26, 2013 4:17 PM   By Jeff Miller
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RAPAPORT... The Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory at the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) have signed an agreement  to provide four elementary schools in South Africa with Mandela Day Libraries.

The agreement supports the legacy of Nelson Mandela to ensure sustainability through transformative democracy and will support literacy as an empowerment tool --  one of the single most important skills for children, providing them with access to further education and life opportunities.  nelson mandela

Susan M. Jacques, the chair of GIA's board of governors, and Sello K. Hatang, the CEO  of the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory at the Nelson Mandela Foundation, met in Carlsbad, California to enact the deal.

The Mandela Day libraries project began in 2011 with the goal of bridging the gap in literacy and reading proficiency in schools throughout South Africa. By bringing libraries to schools without reading facilities, children gain access to appropriate reading material in their own languages. Librarians are trained to manage the facilities and inspire a love of reading among South Africa’s youth. GIA will provide libraries to two schools in 2013 and two more in 2014.

The Mandela Day Container Libraries are created from large shipping containers that have been recycled and retrofitted with new flooring, insulation, electricity and book shelves. The GIA will also provide a selection of books for each library. Breadline Africa, a nongovernmental organization and internationally registered South African-based charity, is the main partner of the container program.

Hatang said, “We are excited about our new collaboration with GIA. It will present many pupils with an opportunity to improve their literacy and ultimately their lives. Literacy remains an enormous challenge in  Africa and is a key priority on the youth agenda.”

Bev Hori, GIA's chief learning officer, added, “We’re looking forward to growing our relationship with the Nelson Mandela Foundation. The first phase of this collaboration will establish libraries in towns where children are underprivileged. This will be the first time some of these students have had access to books. The Mandela Day Container Libraries are an excellent step in bettering the education, and in turn the lives, of children in Africa.”

GIA has developed education programs in Africa over the past decade to help bring more value from the global trade of diamonds to source countries. GIA’s Junior Gemologist Program™, which gives 10 to 15-year-old students the opportunity to discover the world of gemology through hands-on, practical training, was introduced in Africa in 2012. The GIA  also introduced more than 1,000 African students to gem and jewelry education opportunities at the Career Indaba trade show in Johannesburg in June as part of the seventh annual Africa Education Week.

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Tags: books, GIA, Jeff Miller, library, literary, nelson mandela, schools, South Africa
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