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From diamonds to development

The Bhansalis have ploughed a substantial part of their profits from the diamond trade into health, women's education and disaster management since 1969

The Bhansalis are one of India's leading diamond merchants. But with a difference. They have been in the diamond business since 1950, but unlike other businesses, they plough a substantial percentage of their profits into areas such as health, women's education and disaster management.

Dinesh Bhansali, father of the four brothers who run the Bhansali Trust today, formed this organisation in 1969 after a severe drought in Bihar. The trust comprises 450 full-time workers and 1,200 part-time workers. To ensure accountability, it is run in a decentralised manner.

For over 30 years the trust has been working in remote villages of Rajasthan and Gujarat. The trust runs 650 anganwadis (kindergarten facilities) in about 1,200 villages in Gujarat. It also runs five residential schools, which cater to 1,800 students in Banaskantha district, Gujarat.

It has sponsored vaccination programmes for children in about 425 villages in the same state. Recently the trust also undertook relief work in cyclone-hit Orissa, in association with the Gem and Jewellery Promotion Council (Mumbai).

"The guiding philosophy behind our business is to share what we have to alleviate poverty and suffering. Each generation of Bhansalis have kept this philosophy alive through their work since the late-1960s, " says Mahesh Bhansali, one of the four trustees.

The trust has trained 350 paramedics who have in turn treated more than 55,000 people. As part of its blindness prevention programme it has distributed vitamin A tablets in 400 villages. Over the last 16 years 130,000 operations have been conducted, with 13,319 cataract operations performed last year, with a success rate of 99 per cent. Each operation costs Rs 500.

Ashok Bhansali, another trustee says, "By holding the unconventional view that businessmen have the moral responsibility to protect the less fortunate, our trust has set a novel example which others will hopefully follow."

Contact: Mahesh Bhai Bhansali, Trustee
National Highway, Char Rasta,
Taluka Radhanpur, Banaskantha
Gujarat 385340, India
Tel:91- 2746- 773 91