Today I’m honored to introduce you to Diamonds Do Good, an global nonprofit dedicated to supporting initiatives that empower people in diamond communities worldwide.
There’s a lot of content out there about the problems in the diamond industry, and even more that simply ignores the issues altogether (something I’m guilty of too often, myself). I’m excited to help even out that imbalance by spotlighting an organization that seeks to actively encourage the diamond industry to be a force for good, rather than just for profit.
Diamonds Do Good is committed to making its own name come true: it is an initiative funded by diamond companies though the Diamond Empowerment Fund. Its mission is to make the world a better place: not just through discovery of the natural world’s wonders, but by actually effecting lasting, positive change in the communities where diamonds are mined.
That sounds great. But what does it actually mean?
Let’s look at one particular example: the ways that Russian diamond mining company ALROSA has found to enrich the lives of the people who live in the towns that have grown up around their mines.
When diamonds were discovered in Siberia in 1948, there were no human settlements at all in the area that would surround the mine, just frigid tundra. The region is harsh, even by Siberian standards: temperatures remain well below zero for up to nine months out of the year.
ALROSA knew from the very beginning that they were asking a lot of their workers, so they wanted to do everything they could to create a strong local community near the mining site, to make sure their employees had a place to thrive. ALROSA built the towns’ infrastructure from the ground up, from power lines, houses, and a hospital to schools, a leisure center, and more.
As of 2015, ALROSA’s mines are supplying 28% of the world’s rough diamonds, and three vibrant towns – Mirny, Aikhal, and Udachny – have sprung up around the mining sites.
ALROSA didn’t stop after providing their workers with a few basic necessities. In 2015 alone, the company spent over $150 million on social programs, both to benefit its own workers specifically and the region where its mines are located in general. ALROSA is committed to doing all that it can to make sure its workers and the local community has all it needs to thrive.
One of these initiatives is assisting workers who wish to vacation away from the harsh climate of the local area, both by providing summer camps for children and travel funding for families who would like to visit health resorts and warmer climates during their yearly three months of vacation. There are also a variety of company-funded housing programs, from dormitories for young professionals, to mortgage co-financing for aspiring homebuyers and free apartments in warmer climates for employees who retire after many years.
The diamond mining company supports 27 different kindergartens in the towns near its mining operations, which are attended by 4,000 children. ALROSA also supports festivals, concerts, and exhibitions; as well as supporting music, theater, singing, and art classes.
They’re also extremely dedicated to their sports programs, which are vital in an area where it’s too cold for children (or adults) to play outside for most of the year. ALROSA built and maintains a variety of sporting facilities to allow the local communities a way to keep active and enjoy friendly competition even when the weather is 50 below zero.
For a sense of how much this community enjoys its sports, consider the fact that there are yearly tournaments in all of the following areas: chess, football, hockey, rhythmic gymnastics, figure skating, volleyball, skiing and snowboarding, boxing and wrestling, power-lifting, swimming, shooting, motocross.
It’s no wonder, given this wealth of initiatives, that ALROSA is known for its dedication to corporate social responsibility: they’re such an inspiring example of what Diamonds Do Good and the Diamond Empowerment Fund are all about.
Let’s hope that with Diamonds Do Good spreading the word, more and more companies will realize the importance of following ALROSA’s example and tell consumers how they too are taking care of the people behind their diamonds.
For more about Diamonds Do Good, and the ALROSA initiatives in particular, please follow this link.
This sponsored post is brought to you by the Diamond Empowerment Fund.