Natural Diamond Manufacturer sparkles with opportunity

30 December 2020 | Business

Of Namibia’s 2.5 million population, more than half are unemployed and over 100 000 persons live with some form of disability which puts them at an even greater disadvantage when it comes to job opportunities.

One natural diamond cutting and polishing company decided to do something about this.

The André Messika cutting and polishing facility proactively recruits from Namibia’s disabled community and today more than a third of the company’s employees are living with a disability.

Productivity has improved along with employee morale and each morning a custom-built company bus provides transport to help disabled employees get to work.

The project began in 2007 when Schachter & Namdar – founding partner of the André Messika facility – first set up operations in Namibia.

“We decided to embark on employing disabled people because quite simply, we believe in equal opportunities where everyone should have a right to work and feel socially included,” said Marc Friedman, operations director at the company.

“It took about two years to bring in the first group of people. We had to adapt the factory for wheelchair users and also brought in sign language interpreters. Today I’m proud to say we’re the biggest employer of disabled people in Namibia.”

In their Namibia headquarters, 16 of 42 employees are living with a disability and this number is expected to increase in 2021.

Anna Marie Johnson, 26, was one of the first disabled employees. A wheelchair user since she was injured in a swimming pool accident at the age of eight, Anna Marie is now an experienced diamond polisher whose work is admired by global brands.

“Growing up in the kind of neighbourhood I did, I didn’t get a degree or papers to even get a job,” she said.

“Who would want to employ a wheelchair-bound girl who was disabled and not educated? But then one day a man I recognised from TV stopped me in the street and asked me what I was doing with my life. When I said ‘nothing’, he said he had something that could help, and he’d pick me up on Monday morning. A bus came and he kept picking up disabled people. As we were driving, he explained to me about the opportunity.”

Teopolina Sheveenyena is in her early 30’s, mother to a young baby and works as a stock controller. She was born with a hearing impairment. Prior to starting work, she didn’t consider looking for a job, as she didn’t think there would any point, “because people see that I can’t hear, I can’t talk, they think I’m unable to do the job”.

Not only does the company recruit wheelchair users and men and women with hearing impairments, it also proactively welcomes people from a wide spectrum of age groups.

Like the Natural Diamond Council, the André Messika cutting and polishing facility takes their corporate social responsibility very seriously and places its workforce and local communities at the centre of its operations.

The company’s training programmes take years before they yield highly skilled professionals that are true experts in their field, providing crucial employment opportunities that would otherwise elude many of those living with a disability.

Joseph Kunyenga, production manager at the company, says that the quality and productivity of the company has improved since people living with a disability were invited to join their workforce.

“The quality of diamond cutting and polishing that we see from our team is on another level. We invest in training and make sure we have a supportive and encouraging working environment where people can thrive and feel proud of the work they do. These are professional diamond cutters and polishers,” added Friedman.

“If you look at those who are hearing impaired, their concentration levels are much higher, they are totally focused without distractions. Our employees are so committed to their jobs, to growing in the company, and learning more things all the time.”

Raluca Anghel, Head of External Affairs at the Natural Diamond Council, emphasised that diversity is fundamental to the success of any business.

“This factory in Namibia is a shining example of how to create a happier, more productive working environment. What this diamond company has achieved is an inspiration not only to the diamond world, but to every employer. Every human deserves the same opportunities.”

Source: The Natural Diamond Council (NDC)

Similar News

 

Top five risks for business in 2021

5 days ago - 17 January 2021 | Business

Covid-19, emerging digital threats, climate change and the US-China relationship are among the Top 5 risks for business in 2021, according to Control Risks (www.ControlRisks.com),...

Local flavours fill CBD

5 days ago - 17 January 2021 | Business

Swakopmund • [email protected] Hafeni Traditional Bistro recently opened its’ doors in Swakpmund’s central business district.Entrepreneur Heinrich Hafeni Nghidipaya says the bistro caters for those...

Manica pumping massive funds into modern technology

1 week ago - 14 January 2021 | Business

Walvis Bay ∙ [email protected] Manica Group Namibia has recently invested in an advanced mobile hopper and bagging system, the first of its kind in...

TransNamib suspends passenger services countrywide

1 week ago - 12 January 2021 | Business

TransNamib has suspended all its passenger services following the derailment of a train in southern Namibia. The train derailed on a bridge some 45...

Vehicle industry’s resilience applauded

1 week ago - 11 January 2021 | Business

Dealerships and salespeople in the motor vehicle industry were recognised for their commitment, loyalty, and support at Bank Windhoek’s annual Selekt Sales Awards ceremony hosted...

Shoprite strike enters third week

1 week ago - 10 January 2021 | Business

Swakopmund • [email protected] Shoprite employees cheered after the high court in Windhoek ruled in favor of their trade union Nafau in its application against the...

Henties inwoner stig besigheidsforum

2 weeks ago - 06 January 2021 | Business

Hentiesbaai • [email protected] Die Hentiesbaaise sakevrou Daleen Agenbag hoop om deur middel van ’n besigheidsforum ’n verskil op die aftreedorp te maak. “Ons...

King Charcoal to expand

3 weeks ago - 30 December 2020 | Business

Walvis Bay • [email protected] The previous Walvis Bay municipal council decided that an additional two hectares of Farm 38 can be leased to...

Geniet rus en vrede hier

3 weeks ago - 29 December 2020 | Business

As jy van die daaglikse gewoel wil ontsnap, hou koers na Klein Eden Guest Farm, wat 28 km vanaf Omaruru op die D2328 geleë is.Die...

Engen One Stop Usakos slaggereed

3 weeks ago - 29 December 2020 | Business

Die Engen One Stop Usakos-diensstasie is ’n miernes van bedrywigheid in die vakansietyd, met hordes reisigers wat daar aandoen terwyl hulle op pad is kus...

Latest News

Namib Daughters grateful for donation

7 hours ago | Sports

Swakopmund • [email protected] Swakopmund-based women’s soccer team, Namib Daughters, received a timely donation worth an undisclosed amount from Tututango recently.The donation includes ten pairs...

Duisende as jy nie masker...

7 hours ago | Government

Windhoek ∙ [email protected] Weier jy om ’n masker te dra, kan jy maar jou sak skud vir ’n boete van duisende. So ook as...

The search is on for...

1 day - 21 January 2021 | Art and Entertainment

Swakopmund • [email protected] Entries for the first season of the Welwitschia Music Production (WMP) Ma /Gaisa Idol competition closed on 15 January.According to WMP...

Hoe pandemies eindig

1 day - 21 January 2021 | Health

Swakopmund • [email protected] Ná die rampspoedige jaar is die geduld vir ’n pandemie maar min en die mensdom is meer as gereed om hierdie...

Designer branches out

1 day - 21 January 2021 | Art and Entertainment

Walvis Bay • [email protected] Walvis Bay-based designer Chanté Bock has decided that 2021 will be the year in which she embarks on her solo...

Shake a can for hope

1 day - 21 January 2021 | Health

Swakopmund • [email protected] A Shake a Can for World Cancer event will be held in Swakopmund on 5 February, the Cancer Association of Namibia’s...

CAN screening to save lives

1 day - 21 January 2021 | Health

The Cancer Association of Namibia (CAN) welcomes their outreach program to the Erongo region this week. “Breast and cervical cancer are the main types of...

Shoprite workers displeased with police...

2 days ago - 20 January 2021 | Local News

Swakopmund • [email protected] Approximately 50 aggrieved workers of the Shoprite Group Namibia marched from the NANWU offices to the Swakopmund police station today where...

Triathletes to shine at the...

2 days ago - 20 January 2021 | Sports

Swakopmund • [email protected] More than 100 athletes are expected to compete in the first-ever triathlon hosted at Platz Am Meer in Swakopmund this...

Load More