Noëlla Musunka

«When a woman has received an education, she fights for her ideas and she is no longer influenced by a man.»

Betting on education to develop is the challenge of Noëlla Musunka Coursaris. Through her foundation, Malaika, the famous model puts the awakening of the child at the heart of all her programs.

« I could have contented myself for being a top model, but I wanted to help my country, use my contacts and the money I am raising to work for a better world.» International model, Noella Musunka created in 2007 the Malaika Foundation – in tribute to her father Georges Malaika -, a charity organization whose vocation is to provide education for a better life for the children of her country, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). « Education is the most powerful tool. I was fortunate to have a western education, and when I returned to Congo, I was struck by the weakness of the school system, particularly in the Katanga region of Lubumbashi where I was born. I felt the need to find a way to give girls an education. Education remains the key to development, in the DRC but throughout Africa. When a woman has received an education, she fights for her ideas and she is no longer influenced by a man. »

Number of students doubled in a few years

Since 2007, the foundation has been awarding scholarships to girls from poor families and to orphans displaced by the war. Without this help, these children would not have had access to education. « More than one in four children are not educated in the DRC. 60% of these children are girls in rural areas,» Noella recalls. « When you give education to a girl, she will earn 25% more and reinvest 90% in her family. Emancipating girls and women in the DRC is strengthening the entire society

Her greatest pride today : the creation in Kalebuka of the Georges Malaika girls’ school whose first stone was laid on October 27, 2009 by Noëlla and Khaliah Ali, the daughter of Mohammed Ali. The school has been welcoming children since September 2011. « It is an accredited and completely free institution! In order to awaken the curiosity of our students and equip them for the future, the school offers English, French, Physical Education, Arts and Theater classes. We also offer two meals a day. School stationries and uniforms are provided. From a hundred students in the first year, the number at the beginning of the last academic year was rose to 280 students. Girls receive a free, quality education, two healthy meals every working day, a quarterly health consultation program. This may seem obvious, but this school is a hope for all these children. We hope to welcome soon 300 girls! »

Convince families

The education of girls remains Noella’s fight. « Education remains the most powerful way to develop a community. At first, it was difficult to convince parents to send their daughters to schools, but as we continued our sensitization, most families in Kalebuka now value the girl’s education. It is not often easy, it is a struggle that must be carried out till the end. » The foundation’s today projects are «integrated.» « Our approach is to develop the entire village of Kalebuka, which has no water or electricity. For that, we rely on future generations. This is a cause for which we are fighting despite the obstacles, and we invite volunteers to join us for the integral development not only of the DRC but also of all Africa. »

Create the leadership of tomorrow

Also on the program, the introduction to entrepreneurship. « Right now, our students, aged between 13 and 14, are working on a chicken farm that will be for their communities, but also for the school canteen. They conducted a market survey to inquire about the real need of the community in the consumption of meat. This project was designed by students during our entrepreneurship training. This introduction to business creation also extends to adults. The women we mentor in our community center learn management skills to support their training in cutting and sewing, embroidery, and soap making

For Noëlla, it is about making her daughters tomorrow’s leaders. « We educate them according to the responsibilities they will have to assume in the future. It is important for me to give them a quality education, restructured according to the needs of the community, of the current social reality. As of developing their personality, our incredible team of teachers is beefed up every summer by new trainers, and no We are happy about the trust they build with them and the self-esteem they bring to our students. The world today needs people who stand out through excellence, that is what we learn in Malaika