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the
brilliant mobile
school

Brilliant Earth has funded a primary school in a rural diamond mining community that brought education to children with little to no formal education

bringing water to the community

The Brilliant Earth community proudly raised funds to build two new wells to provide clean water in the communities surrounding the mobile school, which community members identified as their most urgent need.

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About the School

Brilliant Earth has funded a 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 students may have otherwise been forced to mine for diamonds and received no formal education.

Our Brilliant Mobile School enrolled our first class of students in 2015. A second class of students was introduced in its second year. The students ranged in age from 9 to 16, but each had little to no formal education. The curriculum was carefully targeted to pick up where the children’s previous lessons left off and the students were 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 employed two teachers. In 2016, we funded the construction of a more durable structure for the school.

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

How it Helps

Education in math, history, science, French, and more

Uniforms, backpacks, tutudesks, and school supplies

New jobs in the local community

Recreation for students

Daily meals for students and teachers

Increased gender equality

why

Why We Care

Our school was 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 attended our school might otherwise have accompanied their parents to the nearby Lungudi diamond mine. Instead, they studied math, learned to read and write, and worked 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.

news

A Visit from

42% of the country's children between the ages of 5 to 14 are involved in some kind of labor, often in mines

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Only 54% of children in the democratic republic of congo complete primary school

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The only source of income comes from mining, most know better how to recognize a rough diamond than a textbook

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impact

looking forward

In 2017, after two years of study, we were thrilled that 100% of our Brilliant Mobile School students passed their national exams to continue their education into high school. We have since supported their education through two years of high school, funding school fees, uniforms, school supplies, and daily meals. According to our partner, the Diamond Development Initiative (DDI), the High School Support Program is a natural and necessary evolution of the Mobile Schooling program. Former Executive Director Dorothée Gizenga said, “DDI demonstrated that children in mining communities preferred school to working in the mines if they had the choice. We want to continue to give them that opportunity by accompanying them through this next phase of their life-defining journey.” At Brilliant Earth, we have watched these children progress through this educational program, and are so proud of their success!