Frequently Asked Questions About Social Responsibility

Enter the Earth is a North Carolina based company owned by Nader Kawar. We have a retail store and wholesale warehouse in Asheville, North Carolina, a wholesale warehouse in Tucson, Arizona, and a factory in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar. We also operate the Ocean Jasper (TM) mines in the Sofia region of northwestern Madagascar.  You can learn more about our company on the About Us section of our wholesale website.

We not only pay our workers a fair wage, we are part of the community. Many of our suppliers are Madagascan owned businesses operated by the same families for generations.

Our regular factory hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. with a paid lunch hour and breaks. We give a per diem to cover the cost of food. Additionally, we observe many American pay practices there like holiday pay, overtime pay, and goal based bonuses.

We provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect against injury while breaking, cutting, and polishing stones. This includes but is not limited to goggles, coveralls, gloves, and steel toed boots. We also have ear protection for loud equipment.

Our primary safety concern is the prevention of silicosis, a lung disease caused by the inhalation of silica. Air extractors and fans help eliminate dust in the factory and stones are cut with water to reduce exposure. Finally, we provide all of our workers with particle filtering masks. We also share them with our suppliers.

We do not employ underage workers in our factory or mines.

Enter the Earth covers all the expenses at the mines, including housing and food. Miners work Monday through Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, from 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. to avoid the heat of the day. (They do not work on Thursdays for cultural reasons.) Additionally, we observe many American pay practices there like holiday pay, overtime pay, and goal based bonuses.

We provide tools and personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect against injury while mining and breaking or moving rough rock. This includes but is not limited to goggles, hard hats, reflective safety clothing, gloves, steel toed boots, and particle filtering masks.

Ocean Jasper (TM) is collected by shallow surface mining, no deeper than most house foundations underground. While all mining has an environmental impact, we do not use heavy machinery, explosives, or chemicals for extraction.

We follow standard land reclamation practices.  Ocean Jasper (TM) is more technically a chalcedony, a variety of quartz. Mining chalcedony does not release dangerous byproducts into the local environment. Excavated areas are filled back in with waste rock, replicating the succession of soil layers, and the original shape of the landscape is returned. Finally, we restore native vegetation with replanting projects.

We also partner with the neighboring communities during the rainy season, when mining is not possible, to plant trees used locally like mango and lemon.

Much of our charitable giving has revolved around education. We pay for the schooling, books, and supplies for all of our factory workers’ children. We have also supported education-based charities working on the island.

We constructed a school for the remote communities near the Ocean Jasper mines in 2000. We pay for the local children’s education, school supplies, and the salaries of the teachers. Additionally, we built a health clinic in Marovato in 2017 and another one in Kabamby in 2021. We pay for both the medical supplies and the salaries of the nurses, midwives, and doctors. We have been digging additional wells in the area to ensure clean drinking water and the construction of bridges for safer travel.

Finally, we work with both the local and regional government to support the economic development of the Sofia region. For example, each year we help repair roads damaged during the rainy season. We have also supported the maintenance of local government offices, including providing solar power and back up batteries.

Enter the Earth constructed a second health clinic near the village of Kabamby in 2021. We pay for both the medical supplies and the salaries of the nurses, midwives, and doctors.

Southern Madagascar experienced its worst drought in four decades in the fall of 2021 leading to fears of a famine. When the potential for catastrophic food insecurity first appeared, Enter the Earth partnered with Gems of Madagascar, the Acronis Cyber Foundation, the regional Vakinankaratra government, and other donors to support direct food aid there.

Our group effort was organized by Gems of Madagascar.  It is a charitable organization started by a graduate gemmologist that specifically works with rural communities. To date we have delivered more than 11 metric tons of food to 450 families, including fresh fruit, greens, root vegetables, lentils and beans, rice, corn and rice flour, milk powder, salted fish, and drinking water.

These supplies were primarily purchased around Morarano, a town in central Madagascar. Gems of Madagascar sponsors a school there and buying locally had the added benefit of supporting its farmers rather than just importing goods. The relief efforts developed into a school project. Teachers, students, and their parents came together to help those facing hunger by preparing everything for transportation south.

Both our retail store and wholesale warehouse in Asheville, North Carolina were closed from March to May 2020 because of a stay-at-home order.  All employees had their salaries paid during the shutdowns.  We reopened under North Carolina and Buncombe County’s safety mandates, including limited customer capacity, social distancing, and mask or face covering requirements.

Similar safety procedures were observed in Madagascar. We shared the masks typically used for cutting and polishing stones with our workers, their families, and our suppliers.  All employees in both the mines and factory had their salaries paid during the shutdowns.  Additionally, we provided direct food aid in Marovato and Kabamby to help other people in the community facing food insecurity because of COVID-19.

Contact Information

Our social responsibility manager Christopher Matthews handles inquiries about charitable giving, community outreach, and known treatments of our products.

Christopher Matthews
Wholesale Website and Social Media Manager
Office for Geological Research
Email: christopher@entertheearth.com