New York, NY, September 26, 2017 – The Diamond Empowerment Fund (D.E.F.) has announced a $130,000 grant to the Graça Machel Trust, the pan-African women’s and children’s rights organization founded and led by the Honorable Graça Machel, former First Lady of South Africa and of Mozambique.
The Graça Machel Trust was started in 2010 to significantly improve the lives of African women and children. In addition to running its own programs, the Trust helps strengthen networks and organizations that help women and children, and drive social and economic change across the continent. As the widow of the late South African Nelson Mandela, Graça Machel has strong roots in social justice, economic development and equal access to education for women and girls.
Says Diamond Empowerment Fund co-founder, Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., “Graça is a global freedom fighter, international advocate for the rights of women and children, United Nations Icon, and one who continues to give and share her activism, leadership, genius, love, wisdom, and grace.”
“I’ve always seen myself as someone who is here to serve by working with others – never alone”, says Mrs. Machel.
The partnership comes as the Diamond Empowerment Fund gears up to celebrate its 10-year anniversary. It was at a meeting at Nelson Mandela and Graça Machel’s home in Maputo, Mozambique, in 2006 with Dr. Chavis and fellow co-founder Russell Simmons, where the idea of the Diamond Empowerment Fund was first contemplated.
Supported by the global diamond industry, empowering people from diamond communities through access to higher education has been the D.E.F. mission from the beginning. Says Anna Martin, Diamond Empowerment Fund president and senior vice-president of Gemological Institute of America (GIA), “The Graça Machel Trust is the perfect partner with which to continue our 10-year legacy of giving back to the youth from diamond communities around the world. The Trust’s work is a reminder that “Diamonds Do Good.”
Graça Machel Trust joins existing D.E.F. beneficiaries, India-based Veerayatan, and Botswana Top Achievers Program.