January 25, 2006
JFC and De Beers launch $600,000 Childcare Program
Jewelers for Children and De Beers will launch a joint project for cofunding a program of integrated childcare in Galeshewe, one of the largest urban settings in the Northern Cape province of South Africa.
Politically, socially and historically, Galeshewe and its people have been developmentally deprived. The township has very high levels of unemployment and associated social problems a stark scenario for which there are no easy solutions in a developing country with an already stretched social net. 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. On top of this fractured social environment is 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 program seeks to bring to scale a successful and widely acclaimed model of community-based childcare, 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 received the endorsement of 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, providing direct relationships of care and counselling between trained care workers and identified vulnerable and/or orphaned children in their own homes.
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 centers from which services can be provided into the community.
At the signing ceremony in London, Laurence Grunstein, chairman of the JFC board, said, "Jewelers for Children is proud to be partnering with De Beers on such a worthwhile project to help children who are in such need. 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. jewelry trade to make a real difference on the ground in South Africa, the birthplace of our industry," said Gareth Penny, De Beers managing director.