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Forgotten Diamonds-background 12-07-09 it I,„�t l iq t a. L,t Ad �..�,a�of L„eras,", 1n c I z o 1'e,tr FORGOTTEN DIAMONDS FACETS BACKGROUND In 2002,one of the worst cavil wars in history ended in Sierra Leone,leaving a country devastated and without any real infrastructure. Sierra Leoneans are rebuilding their country,but with very little funding for construction,access to purified water or electricity,progress on basic services such as education,banking and postal service is slow. Today Sierra Leone ranks as the poorest country in the world by the UNDP. The average adult life expectancy is currently at 41 years,the infant mortality rate is l: (many due to curable disease),and the literacy rate is less than 20%. Melonie Kastman is a commercial filmmaker who traveled to Sierra Leone for the first time in September 2006 to document a friend's fashion design business. Struck by the warmth and kindness of Sierra Leoneans straggling to survive,and wanting to do something to complement their efforts,she organized a "Secret Santa" program. She paired families from The Bonthe Mining District and 40 families in Texas and then personally delivered the gifts with her daughter,Ruby. Many of the packages included letters,which sparked a Pen Pal Program. Today.over 600 children are involved in an ongoing cross-country exchange. Melonie continues her trips filtering a documentary about Sierra Leone,and in the process has filmed local students,teachers,mothers,professors,doctors,business people and governmental ministers. When asked the most effective way to improve life them,time and again they have said that education is the key. Melonie and Kelly Cox net in the fall of 2008. Kelly had been searching for several years to find a way for her family (including her surgeon husband,,Clif) and daughter (Camilla,age S) to volunteer in a third world country. The first trip together was sprang, 2009. They spent a week focused on improving, education and a week at the Bo Government Hospital where Clif performed abdominal surgery and fistulae repair. They formed a grass roots organization,Forgotten Diamonds. Their work continues to improve the landscape of literacy in Sierra Leone, MISSION The Mission of Forgotten Diamonds is to deliver educational resources to the most people in the shortest period of tinge, i STRUCTURE Being a community based,charitable organization,we invest and work with local villages and businesses in partnership to benefit the citizens and their children. We are working with The Dallas Foundation,founded in 1929,which provides us 50 IC3 status so that all donations will be tax deductible. Additionally,Philanthropy Directions International is advising us on the inherent complexities of providing charitable funds to all undeveloped, recently war-torn country, Finally,we have partnered with M3 Films to help bring the film "Forgotten Diamonds"to market.This release will provide additional funding to our mission. We believe we have a replicable model that empower-, local villages to improve the education of its people, both children and adults. Raising literacy ensures basic rights such as voting and gives greater opportunities to future generation who must compete in today's global society. Under the Forgotten Diamond umbrella, he are Nine Key Facets: I Ruby Rose Educational Resource Center and Library 1. Food for Thought Nutritional Program 3 Adult Literacy 4. Technology Training 5. Agriculture and Gardening 6. Textbook Lending 7. Sports and Games 8. Sewing and Uniform Assistance 9. Art, Music and Drama ACCOMPLISHMENTS Ruky Rose Educational Resource Center Opening On February 18,2009 The Ruby Rose Educational Resource Center and Library officially opened its doors, in Mogbwerno. Through the generous donations from Sierra Rutile Ltd.,Paramount Chiefs,Half Price Books,The Parish School,Shelton School and Westlake Academy,and lots of friends and family,the library has over 35,000 books. This accomplishment has more than tripled the number of books in the entire country! In fact,to date more than 7,(M children have had their first experience ever in a library. We have also initiated a mobile library program with eight routes to deliver books to schools located too far from the library. First Annual Global Essay Contest and Cultural Exchange In May,24 Schools in Sierra Leone and several in the US competed in an effort to promote education and literacy and to expound on the value of a library in their respective communities. Winners in the US were awarded gift cards generously donated by Half Price Books,while those in Sierra Leone received cash prizes. The event also served as a launch for the Food for Thought Lunch Program,funded by Westlake Academy, whereby local families prepare meals and serve them to the library visitors. Food,for Thought Based on the mantra that we are feeding both the minds and bodies of the children of Sierra Leone,this program is intended to provide a healthy meal to children who visit the library. It encourages them to take advantage of the facilities at the Ruby Rose Educational Center and provides nutrition that is desperately needed in the community. Currently.Food for Thought provides more than 2500 meals/month to local village children. Art Installation at Dallas Gallery In September,Forgotten Diamonds participated in a Verso Gallery opening with an installation of still photography,film clips and unanswered letters from Sierra Leone. This exhibition was very successful in raising awareness of the challenges of daily life ill Sierra Leone. PLANS GOING FORWARD Refurbish Secondary Building The land and war ravaged building has been deeded to Forgotten Diamonds. Volunteers have been solicited. Ali architectural rendering has been completed. This reconstruction and the addition of runninc, water and electricity will provide the facilities to house the Zn other facets of Forgotten Diamonds and offer more children and adults the opportunity to improve their literacy and lives overall. Fully fund and support other facets of Forgotten Diamonds We book forward to expanding services in the arts and sports programs. Specifically,we are working oil refurbishing a golf course and organizing tennis instruction on recently renovated courts. We have verbal commitments for a national football team sponsorship of a sports field on site. We are looking to provide technical equipment(including computers,cameras and video equipment) and instruction. We will be implementing an agricultural program where local schools compete with door-sized gardens to provide produce for Food for Thought. We are working with the local Ministers of Education in an attempt to initiate a textbook lending program. Expand parameters Though we have a service area of 21,000 children in the Lower Bonthe Mining District, the need far exceeds those boundaries. We look forward to increasing our reach to offer in kind services to greater number of citizens in Sierra Leone and beyond.