GIA Partners With Mandela Foundation on School Libraries in South Africa

The Gemological Institute of America and the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory at the Nelson Mandela Foundation have signed a memo of understanding to provide four elementary schools in South Africa with a Mandela Day Library.

Susan M. Jacques, chair of the GIA Board of Governors, and Sello K. Hatang, chief executive of the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory at the Nelson Mandela Foundation, signed the agreement in Carlsbad, Calif., on July 22.

“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,” Hatang said in a statement.

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. GIA will provide libraries to two schools in 2013 and two more in 2014.

“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,” Bev Hori, GIA’s chief learning officer and vice president of education, said in statement.

“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,” Hori said.

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