Aug 09, 2019

Indian Gems & Jewellery Industry Spreads Hope and Cheer

It was an evening which brought to the fore perhaps the most shining facet of the gems and jewellery industry of India – their acts of giving, their work to spread hope and cheer amongst some of the most deserving sections of society. On the opening day of India International Jewellery Show (IIJS) 2019, on Thursday August 8, The Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) organised the Jewellers for Hope dinner, through which money is raised for philanthropic work, and three deserving NGOs/organisations involved in charitable work are chosen to whom it is disbursed. This, the GJEPC has been doing for the past several years.

This year too, the event was suffused with goodwill and warmth as all the speakers, Chairman GJEPC, Pramod Kumar Agrawal; Colin Shah, Vice Chairman, GJEPC; Guests of Honour Paul Rowley, Executive Vice-President, Diamond Trading, De Beers Group and Evgeny Agureev, Director of the United Selling Organization of ALROSA; Nirupa Bhatt, Managing Director India and the Middle East, GIA, and Milan Chokshi (who gave the Vote of Thanks)  all in one way or the other emphasised the role that diamonds and  the gems and jewellery industry have played in positively impacting the lives of the people of communities where the industry is based, and their own employees as well.

The focus however, was firmly on the three recipients of this year’s Jewellers for Hope endowments. The three organisations selected this year are: Welfare of Indian Army Wives and Children; Shrimad Rajchandra Love and Care; TIDE (Tribal Integrated Development & Education Trust).

In the course of the evening, the attendees saw four heart-wrenching but hope inspiring videos/presentations. The first from GJEPC encapsulated the work done by GJEPC and the Indian gems and jewellery industry. Then followed a video/presentation from each of the recipient organisations prior to a speaker from each talking about the work being done.

Lt. Gen (Retd) K.T. Parnaik gave an inspiring speech talking about the army’s contribution to the nation. He also highlighted the challenges that armymen and their families face, ranging from loss of life, to disability to stress; and how the army had set up a fund to, as he said, do its own CSR by helping out and supporting where they could. The gems & jewellery industry in the past has made its own contribution towards the welfare of army widows and their children.

Abhay Jasani, veteran trade member, spoke on behalf of the Shripad Ramchandra Love and Care and outlined its “unique 10-fold benevolent programme” which spans areas from health and education, to women, child and tribal care to protection on animals and the environment.  He highlighted the difference made by the organisation saying that it had impacted more than 43 lakh lives; treated more than 12.75 lakh patients; benefited a similar number of school children; saved, treated and rehabilitated more than 1 lakh animals.

Ashok Bhansali, another leading diamantaire, gave an insightful presentation on the work of TIDE. He told the audience that India has over 120 million tribals living in approximately 135,000 villages. He spoke of the abject poverty and the resultant lack of adequate nutrition and a host of problems which impacted the children of the tribals. Bhansali outlined the work being done by TIDE amongst the tribals of some 5,000 villages in 16 states across the country. In the last three years, the organisation has also started working with the Mushar or rat eaters, as they are called, and who are the poorest of the poor.

The programme was compered by Boman Irani, one of the country’s foremost actors, who steered the evening with grace and charm. But the crowning glory of his performance was Irani’s much appreciated rendition of a Frank Sinatra song, “My Way”, at the end of the evening.    

The Jewellers for Hope Dinner was powered by GIA and organised in Association with the De Beers Group. It was supported by the many companies of the gems and jewellery industry which also contributed towards the effort.