Historically, colored gemstones are exported as rough out of their source country to another country for faceting. The next generation of East African youth are dreaming of a future where gemstones are faceted in their own country, causing three positive results: more jobs, the value of the gems increases at export, and an entirely East African brand of gemstones. The students of the Arusha Gemological Training Centre are determined to change the tide.
Gem Legacy’s founder, Roger Dery, has been connected to the Centre for over 10 years. It was founded in 2000 and has graduated over 750 students. Courses are offered in gem faceting, gemology, gem identification, and gem grading. Gem Legacy is a 501c3 nonprofit charity dedicated to kids, education, and entrepreneurship.
Gem Legacy discovered that graduates were finding it difficult to find jobs in East African cutting centers due to the machinery used for gem faceting. The machines used by the school were used when they received them in 2000 and are largely broken today. In addition, the machines are not the style of modern machine used by cutting centers. Students were graduating at a disadvantage. In 2019, Gem Legacy funded 5 new, American-made, precision faceting machines to modernize the school and it’s time for a new round of students to attend!
Most students cannot attend the school without monetary assistance so we’re sponsoring 10 young adults with a scholarship to complete the 4 month course! We’ll continue sponsoring students in the future so those who cannot afford to obtain education can be gifted the knowledge needed to successfully thrive in jobs in the cutting centers of East Africa. Gem Legacy will continue to add faceting machines as the school attendance increases.
The school, led by Mr. Peter Salla, is passionate about educating those who don’t have the opportunity to better themselves on their own. Several young ladies have graduated who were formerly prostitutes and are now working in East African cutting centers. Mr. Salla is also passionate about bringing in orphans who will turn 18 and will no longer be supported by an orphanage. Often, they were not trained in a skill that easily equips them for a job, so further education is necessary to ensure that they are equipped to support themselves.
The Arusha Gemological Training Centre is more than a school…it is a launching ground for the next generation to transform Tanzania - and East Africa – into a place where gems, and the faceting of gemstones changes lives.