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This Non-Profit Sends Engaged Couples To Africa For An Experience Of A Lifetime

By Stephanie Ogbogu

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Nothing solidifies an engagement like a nice diamond and diamonds have made Botswana one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies.

The Diamond Empowerment Fund (D.E.F.) is a global nonprofit organization inspired by Nelson Mandela and founded by leaders in the diamond industry in 2007. With the goal of empowering youth living in areas where the diamond industry does business, D.E.F. works with organizations to provide educational and vocational scholarships to young people across Africa, India, and Canada with plans to expand giving in the future. 

Last year, D.E.F. launched its first-ever millennial targeted contest called ‘Real Stories. Real Diamonds. Real Impact’ under their Diamonds Do Good banner. The contest called on newly-engaged and married couples with an itch for adventure to create a one-minute video detailing their proposal story and showing off their rocks. The winners would be flown to Botswana, the world’s largest producer of gem-quality diamonds, to experience first-hand the positive impact natural diamonds have had for the country.

Lucky winners Robyn Stephens and Austin Consaul were selected and experienced a once in a lifetime opportunity this past July.

The happy couple embarked on a week-long trip to Botswana, where they visited the Okavango Diamond Company, went on a safari, took pottery classes on the premises of the beautiful Grand Palm Hotel, and even witnessed the country’s President’s Day festivities, a 50-year tradition dates back to 1966 when Seretse Khama became the country’s first President.

“Africa still feels like a dream,” Robyn recounted upon returning home to Tampa, Florida.

Robyn Stephens

During their trip, the couple also learned how diamonds were cut, polished, and readied for sales worldwide. They traveled to the small village of Molepolole, where they visited the Leo Schachter Diamond Factory and met master diamond craftswoman, Kemmonye Khatetswe, who fulfills her dreams of providing for her family by cutting and polishing diamonds with care.

Austin Consaul, Robyn Stephens, and Kemmonye Khatetswe

“There were several different stages we got to see in the diamond polishing process,” the couple noted. “It all was very detailed work. we learned how much time they spend on creating a diamond from beginning to end and how much precision it takes from the workers to get to the final product. We were very happy to learn that the money made from this goes back into the economy and that the industry provided jobs and opportunities for many of the people in the country.”

The Diamond Empowerment Fund is already making plans for their next contest, so make sure you keep an eye on their website for updates.

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Stephanie Ogbogu

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