JFC and De Beers launch a $600,000 childcare program in South Africa

Jewelers for Children and De Beers have launched a $600,000 joint project for co-funding a program of integrated childcare in Galeshewe, one of the largest urban settings in the Northern Cape province of South Africa. The two organizations held a signed an agreement in London.

Politically, socially, and historically, Galeshewe and its people have been developmentally deprived, the two organizations said in a joint statement Tuesday. The former black-majority township has high levels of unemployment and associated social problems. It has high levels of crime that have roots in poverty, weak family structures and fragile community networks. The consequences fall disproportionately on women and especially children. And into this fractured social environment comes the problem of HIV/AIDS. 

The integrated childcare program is a direct response to the challenge of providing for children made vulnerable and /or orphaned by AIDS, the organizations said. 

The program will bring community-based childcare to the area, pioneered by best practice and experienced welfare NGOs in South Africa, led by the National Association of Childcare Workers. It is built on the principle of partnership and has received the keen endorsement of the provincial government authorities. A local childcare agency will be developed as a base from which a range of support networks will radiate into the community.

The funding, provided equally by Jewelers for Children and De Beers, will cover a mix of grant management, training of childcare workers and the establishment of childcare networks, refurbishment and construction costs to adapt existing facilities and possibly construct new dedicated centres from which services can be provided into the community.

“Jewelers for Children is proud to be partnering with De Beers on such a worthwhile project to help children who are in such need,” said Laurence Grunstein, chairman of the JFC board said during the signing ceremony in London Tuesday. “The program reinforces the commitment of the fine jewelry and watch industries to unite worldwide to help children who represent our future.”

“De Beers believes that we should ‘live up to diamonds’ in all that we do, and we are delighted to be working with Jewelers for Children and the U.S. jewellery trade to make a real difference on the ground in South Africa, the birthplace of our industry,” said Gareth Penny, De Beers managing director.