Brilliant Earth is proud to fund a new primary school in Lungudi, a diamond-mining community in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Every child has the right to an education, but in many mining communities there are no local schools. Many of the children attending would otherwise be forced to mine for diamonds and receive no formal education.
Our Brilliant Mobile School, opened in July 2015, has enrolled 25 students. The students range in age from 9 to 16, but each has had little to no formal education. The curriculum is carefully targeted to pick up where the children’s previous lessons left off. The 7 girls and 18 boys enrolled are also provided with uniforms, backpacks, school supplies, portable “Tutudesks,” and a daily meal.
Our donation was used to construct a mobile classroom, specially designed to enable quick construction. All of the school structures, including desks, benches, and washrooms were created by local workers using local materials. The Brilliant Mobile School also employs two teachers. We are thrilled to see the school bring the community together and provide local jobs.
WITHOUT SCHOOL, I KNOW I WOULD HAVE TO DO WHATEVER IT TOOK TO SURVIVE, EVEN GO LOOKING FOR DIAMONDS...
12-year-old Kalala Ngalamume, from the TIME Magazine article Blood Diamonds
Our school is located in a village outside the city of Tshikapa in the Kasai West province, a community in which diamond mining is a way of life and schools are entirely absent. Many of the students who attend our school might otherwise accompany their parents to the nearby Lungudi diamond mine. Instead, they will study math, learn to read and write, and work through the school’s socially focused curriculum, discussing issues like gender inequality.
In the DRC, an estimated 800,000 people work as artisanal miners, scouring the earth for diamonds. Sadly, many of these artisanal diamond diggers are children, who do the same dangerous and grueling work as adults: climbing into muddy pits, digging with heavy shovels, and hauling bags of gravel. Child labor is especially common where children have no structured and safe alternative. Because the government of the DRC has never opened schools in many parts of the country, generations of children have not been given the education they need to thrive.
42% of the country's children between the ages of 5 to 14 are involved in some kind of labor, often in mines
ONLY 54% OF CHILDREN IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO COMPLETE PRIMARY SCHOOL
the only source of income comes from mining, most know better how to recognize a rough diamond than a textbook
The Brilliant Mobile School demonstrates the power of education to reduce child labor. Creating the school gives local children a viable option besides working in the mines. Our partner in opening the Brilliant Mobile School, the Diamond Development Initiative (DDI), is working to address the absence of primary schools in the DRC’s diamond mining communities. The Brilliant Mobile School is the first school opened as part of a comprehensive strategy DDI hopes will see up to eight schools opened in the DRC. While focusing on this education initiative, DDI is also working with local miners to increase earnings, reduce safety risks, and certify mines that operate responsibly and are free of child labor.