Kim, Reggie and Ray return from their Africa trip

Posted on Jul 23, 2009 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Kim Kardashian, Reggie Bush, Ray Crockett and Other D.E.F. Advocates on a Trip to South Africa and Botswana on Behalf of The Diamond Empowerment Fund

The Diamond Empowerment Fund, Kim Kardashian, Reggie Bush and Ray Crockett help to raise awareness of the importance of education in African countries where diamonds are a natural resource.

Special thanks to: South African Airways, Diamond Information Center, De Beers South Africa, Debswana, DTC Botswana, Jemal Countess and Getty Images, Alastair Christopher

July 22, 2009 (NEW YORK) – On July 13, media personality Kim Kardashian, professional football player Reggie Bush, former professional football player Ray Crockett and members of their family traveled to South Africa on behalf of hip-hop pioneer and social entrepreneur Russell Simmons’ Diamond Empowerment Fund™(D.E.F.). The trip helped raise awareness for D.E.F. while educating Kim and Reggie on D.E.F.’s mission and purpose. Kim has become a member of D.E.F.’s Africa’s Angels Ambassador program, while Reggie has been announced as a founding member of D.E.F.’s Athletes for Africa program.

Founded in 2007, D.E.F. (www.diamondempowerment.org) is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising money to support education initiatives that help empower economically-disadvantaged people in African nations where diamonds are a natural resource. Established by individuals and businesses in the diamond and jewelry industries and others committed to the empowerment of Africa, D.E.F. believes education is one of the most critical elements that powers society and empowers individuals to realize their full human potential.

Many people are unaware of the role diamonds play in bringing real benefits to people in countries around the world, and most prominently, to Africa. Most African countries have to charge students for their education, because they do not have sufficient tax revenues to pay for a public education system. Botswana, with the help of diamond revenues, is one of the exceptions. The group saw firsthand how diamonds have helped in the development of the country, from the mining operations at Jwaneng, to the surrounding community including the Acacia School. At the diamond sorting facility in Gaborone, they learned how diamonds create jobs for skilled workers.

“It’s impossible to know how awareness will be raised for D.E.F. from Reggie and Kim’s trip to Africa. They both have so much influence on young people around the world,” says D.E.F. founder, Russell Simmons. “When they say that kids in diamond producing countries in Africa deserve a shot at their dreams, people start to think a little bit differently about what matters. I am so proud of them, Reggie’s mom, Denise, as well as Kim’s sister, Khloe Kardashian, and retired football legend Ray Crockett, who joined Kim and Reggie on this trip and part of this beautiful effort.”

Later in the trip while in Johannesburg, the group visited the Cotlands, an orphanage for HIV positive infants, where they shared special moments with each of the kids. Another extraordinary visit on their itinerary was to the African Children’s Feeding Scheme (ACFS), where the basic human needs of these children are paramount through providing two daily meals to 18,000 AIDS orphans, school dropouts and child-headed families daily. Initiatives like these are supported by companies like De Beers South Africa as part of their philanthropic initiatives. At the Feeding Scheme, the group helped prepare a meal and feed the kids.

“My first trip to Africa was filled with so many incredible experiences. I am excited to have seen how diamonds help empower the people of Botswana and South Africa, especially the wonderful students deserving of an education,” says Kim Kardashian. ”I am truly happy to be a part of the Diamond Empowerment Fund family.”

Professional football player Reggie Bush was incredibly moved by the trip. “I traveled to Africa with high expectations and my experience has exceeded them all. The people, the culture and the landscape were all so enriching to me personally. I hope I can continue to give back to the people I met and hopefully many more. This trip will impact my daily life and the people I interact with from this day forward.”

Kim, Reggie and Ray especially gained insight on D.E.F.’s mission to empower through education when they visited CIDA City Campus, the first virtually free college in Africa, support by D.E.F. They also visited the Maharishi Institute and met with students from the African Leadership Academy. They saw firsthand how programs like these give children the chance to further their education gain employment once finished with their education.

Former professional football player Ray Crockett was personally moved by each of these visits. “I traveled to South Africa with an open mind and heart and returned with a new outlook on life. Despite their problems, the African children in the facilities we visited there were so thankful and hopeful for a new and better day. I now realize how blessed we all are.”

For more information about the Diamond Empowerment Fund, please visit: diamondempowerment.org. To learn about Diamonds in Africa and all the projects going on to help these communities, please visit: diamondfacts.org and to read about all the initiatives De Beers is engaged in, please visit: http://www.debeersgroup.com/en/Sustainability/Communities/

###

About the Diamond Empowerment Fund:
Founded in 2007, The Diamond Empowerment Fund (D.E.F.) is a non-profit international organization established by the individuals and businesses in the diamond and jewelry industry committed to the empowerment of communities and countries where diamonds are a natural resource. For more information about D.E.F., go to diamondempowerment.org.