Jul 28, 2017

Spreading Joy: GJEPC’s “Jewellers For Hope” Disburses a Total of Rs 1 Crore to Three NGOs

For the past few years, The Gem & Jewelley Export Promotion Council’s CSR initiative “Jewellers For Hope”,   has been  organising a gala charity dinner on the sidelines of the  IIJS, at which funds collected from the gems and jewellery industry are distributed to two-three deserving NGOs or charitable organisations working to make a difference to society.

This year, a sum of Rs. 1crore was distributed between three such deserving organisations: Girl Rising; Nanhi Kali and Make a Wish Foundation. 

The first two are dedicated to the upliftment of the girl child and to working for gender equality, with a particular emphasis on education. The last named organisation has, since 1996, been working at fulfilling the wishes of children suffering from cancer.

The event was graced by the wife of the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Smt Amruta Fadnavis, who is herself keenly involved in working towards rural development and women’s empowerment.

The event was also attended by Manoj Dwivedi, Joint Secretary, Dept. of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India; and leading members of the international and national diamond industry.

Russell Mehta, Vice Chairman of the GJEPC in his welcome address said that jewellery is associated with happy occasions and moments; and gives joy to both the giver and receiver of these precious gifts.  “We would like to extend this happiness to other sections of society, particularly the less privileged,” he said. Mehta stressed that all gems and jewellery companies, at an individual level worked for one charitable cause or the other. However, he believed philanthropic activities should also be done in a more collaborative manner, as was being done through Jewellers For Hope. He expressed the wish that in years to come this effort would be magnified manifold.

GJEPC Chairman Praveenshankar Pandya addressing the august audience recounted his early memories when he had seen how his own family and those of other diamantaires would come forward to provide relief in emergency situations like floods and droughts. He recalled the setting up of the Gem & Jewellery National Relief Foundation (GJNRF) at the instance of Arunbhai Mehta (Rosyblue) and his uncle, who had both stressed the need for   an industry level body. He also recounted the work that had been done by the GJNRF in various instances: from providing assistance to the families of the soldiers who had lost their lives in the Kargil War; to providing relief to the victims of floods, earthquakes and terrorist attacks. “What we are doing through Jewellers For Hope is only a small token, a mere gesture,” Pandya said. “The industry as a whole does much, much more. Only recently, one of the Trusts inaugurated a Rs. 500 crore hospital in Surat for example.”

 Pandya stressed: “It is important to realise that philanthropy is woven into the very fabric of our industry. For, what we have in our hearts is compassion for the poor, compassion for the citizens of this country.” He appealed to the entire industry to come forward to take this work ahead.

Smt Fadnavis applauded the work being done by the industry and said she was very happy to be part of an event dedicated to “making a difference”. She said finding yourself is about putting a smile on the face of others. “I hope this dinner further ignites the fire of giving,” she said. “Continue your great work. Whatever we are able to contribute, even if it is just a drop, it matters and helps to make a difference. For, ultimately, every drop goes to make an ocean.”

Paul Rowley, Executive Vice President Sightholder Sales, De Beers also spoke at the event at which his company was a co-partner. Rowley spoke about woman power in very real terms – he said that as a demographic they held the greatest potential for the growth of diamond demand. He also stressed the need to work towards their empowerment. “At De Beers and Forevermark, we have a strong focus on the upliftment of women as we know how important they are to all aspects of our business – as employees, as government partners, as consumers, as community stakeholders, as ambassadors and as inspirations,” Rowley said. “They are a huge part – in fact by far the largest part – of our future success and we see it as a clear priority to improve the prospects of women and girls around the world.”

The event was imbued with greater meaning and warmth through the testimonials of the children who had benefitted through the work of the NGOs which were being funded. 

Bollywood actor Arjun Kapoor also made an appearance with the group of children from the Girl Rising NGO.  

Well-known singer Rekha Bhardwaj regaled the audience by singing several of her popular numbers. Mandira Bedi MC for the event steered the evening in a masterful manner. 

Pic Cap: Smt Amruta Fadnavis (ext left) being felicitated by Smt Mona Russell Mehta (centre) and Smt Namita Praveenshankar  Pandya (ext rt)