Gem Legacy Delivers Tools and Machines, COVID Relief in Africa
The team behind the nonprofit has been on the ground to support several initiatives this summer.
Gem Legacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to education, vocational training, and local economies in small, artisanal gemstone mining communities in Africa, launched in 2018.
The first stop for the team in East Africa this summer was the Gemology and Gem Faceting School in Arusha, Tanzania, where they gave graduation certificates to eight students whose gem-cutting education is being funded by a 2021 grant from the JCK Industry Fund.
They also welcomed seven new students who are beginning their studies.
While at the school, Gem Legacy also delivered two new faceting machines that it purchased with donated funds. Updating the school’s machines has been a project the nonprofit has been working on for a few years.
The Gem Legacy team also visited communities and schools in gemstone mining regions affected by the pandemic, which brought trade to a near standstill.
Amid a lack of government-sponsored lunches as schools closed during the crisis, Gem Legacy took on the responsibility of providing breakfast and lunch to 800 children attending the Kitarini Primary School, most of whom are the children of ruby miners.
“A $21 donation pays for a year of meals for each child,” said Rachel Dery, director of communication and outreach for Gem Legacy.
“We know that the breakfast and lunch program is key to keeping students in school in a place where there are many disincentives to attendance, such as the demands of family farms. The food also keeps the kids alert during class.”
Lastly, Gem Legacy delivered 68 miner tool kits across Tanzania and Kenya, made possible through industry donations.
Underwritten at a cost of $125 each, the kits are customized to the needs of specific miners based on the gem type and mining style.
They were created in partnership with local governments, which surveyed miners to make sure they understood which supplies would meet the greatest needs.
Among the kinds of supplies provided are: shovels, chisels, hammers, pickaxes, hand drills, blasting tools, helmets, head lights, gloves, and sieves.
“Tools are absolutely essential to small gem miners’ success,” Dery said.
“We know that over 90 percent of East African miners are, or were, farmers first. Once they found gems on their property, they began gem mining, but most of them simply use farming implements to mine, which are mostly ineffective. The Gem Legacy Miner Toolkit provides them with more efficient set-ups that will allow them to be more productive in their mining.”
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