Seven weeks with Noella

Following two summers of COVID restrictions keeping our founder, Noella, at home in the UK, the Malaika team and Noella herself were delighted to be reunited for another exciting, inspiring and productive summer! 

Noella places great importance on being on the ground and engaging with our community in order to better understand and meet their needs. Her two children joined her as they normally do, which is always a joy for Noella as they get involved and play their part in supporting the programs. 

Working together in person with the team and launching several new elements to Malaika’s provision is always a key aspect of her visits and we’re excited to share everything that has taken place in the last few weeks. 

New wells

As more of the world is starting to experience drought, water is perhaps being appreciated on a whole new level and the need for our community to access clean, potable water has been a key component of our service to the community in Kalebuka. Noella was extremely pleased to inaugurate two new wells during this trip, taking the total now to 27 built or refurbished that serve over 35,000 people. 

These wells are powered by solar panels and were drilled in Sapirina and Kisaka.

Education developments

We launched a new kindergarten class in our primary and secondary school for girls, taking the number of students to 430. A truly amazing number considering that almost all of them would not have been able to access a safe and quality education elsewhere. During her visit Noella met the new students starting in September and their parents and spent time getting to know them and introducing them to Malaika. This was highly beneficial as they are young and completely new to school. 

Established in 2013, our community center continues to provide our youth and adults with skills to better their prospects, and we’re proud to be part of programs such as the National Institute for Vocational Preparedness, who are geared towards equipping our community with the necessary tools to pursue their careers.

Technical classes launched

Furthermore, at the start of her trip, Noella was able to host the launch of our new technical classes in collaboration with both Caterpillar Foundation and Congo Equipment and welcome special visitors to join the celebration. The program was launched by the President of Caterpillar, the CEO of Caterpillar Foundation, and the executive team of Congo Equipment. The Governor, Minister of Education and all of our long-time supporters and community members joined the celebration. To find out more about this, please check out this post

Sport events for the community

It was amazing to have a couple of visitors who came and supported our sport programs, including Theresa, a sport teacher/specialist from the UK, who came to volunteer for five weeks and did sports with the girls and the community center. Also, several volunteers including Katie from MIT who taught lessons and discussed career paths, and Adeline of African Leadership Academy who discussed entrepreneurship and how to apply for university, shared their time and energy supporting us in person. There was also included a tennis tournament hosted at Malaika by a local organization for individuals in wheelchairs and a football match for deaf and mute adults. 

Visits from Malaika supporters

During Noella’s visits there is the opportunity for us to grow our ecosystem of collaborators, supporters and volunteers as she and the team meet and connect with many people from various industries, including donors, sport, media and education as well as members of local government.

Our students and trainees benefited from visitors such as Congolese boxer, Yoann Kongolo, who shared some boxing skills with our youth. Local artists took some creative sessions with the students at Malaika school. The ladies who are part of our entrepreneurship and sewing program, Mama Ya Mapendo, enjoyed a visit from model and entrepreneur Nathalie Eoma, who shared some ideas and knowledge with our trainees.  

We also had the honor of giving a guided tour of all of Malaika’s programs to Mr. Dikanga Kazadi, the Academic General Secretary of the University of Lubumbashi, who also spoke to students about the University. 

Exploring future opportunities

In the coming year, our grade 6 secondary students will be graduating, so the team is highly focused on exploring the best opportunities for their continued education and training. The team visited a couple of local further education provisions, including the New Horizons University. The visit was not only inspiring for our Grade 6 students, whose dreams of attending university are now more possible than ever, but a true pinch-me moment for us all.

To further prepare them for their next steps, this summer our Grade 6 students set out on a two-week internship at a local company and benefited from a workshop, taught by Noella, where they were prepared with ample knowledge of what to expect from their experience in the workplace.

Noella visits other education providers

In order to make connections and inspire her and the team as they look to develop Malaika’s programs and access further education opportunities for future graduates, Noella visited the University of Lubumbashi, ECOPO, and the University Protestant of Lubumbashi (UNILU). She also visited other education providers that offer technical classes, including; INPP, ENABEL and the city of youth.

Team connection and development

We are grateful for our brilliant local team who are committed to implementing, teaching and offering their expertise in order to see Malaika grow and the students reach their full potential. It was also great to have our Director of Operations, Megan, join Noella and the team in the DRC for a week to further strengthen the team and their ability to work together internationally. 

Our teaching staff undertook some teaching training with François, principal of Lycée Français in Zurich, which was important for their skills development as well as ensuring we can deliver a quality education to our students. This was François’ second time at Malaika, and we were so glad to have him again.

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“Meeting Noëlla was the first step in my journey to sponsoring a student at Malaika. Hearing about her journey with creating Malaika from the ground up inspired me to find out more. I started sponsoring the lovely Godlive about four years ago with my husband Matt and it has been a privilege to help support her with these formative years of education, opening up her potential to follow her dreams. 

Throughout my time sponsoring Godlive, I have come to know the wider Malaika community and now consider myself very much part of the family. My younger sister and her flatmates also clubbed together to sponsor a student collectively. It’s been wonderful to introduce friends and family into the community too.”

“Spending a lot of days without being in school was too much for me. But I’m looking forward to going back to school, even if it seems a bit deserted. I’m so happy to restart the program and I’m getting ready for the national test. I pray that everything will get back to normal as soon as possible so that my school can once again be a family for all girls.”

-Feliciane Nshimbi

“I’m very happy as the school is still allowed to open its doors for us. I was especially delighted to see my friends and teachers again making themselves ready for the national primary school-leaving test. But school doesn’t seem to me to be really the same as at the beginning because we are not allowed to greet each other shaking hands, getting closer each other and especially not to being in groups as always. It’s very difficult for us, but we also know it’s a healthy choice. At least we are happy to be together again as a family.”

-Stephanie Sakina

Our ambassadors help spread the word about or our work in DRC. Meet Marine Tanguy, our newest ambassador! Marine is yet another strong, impressive woman who is building momentum and making change. The CEO and Founder of MTArt Agency, she was awarded Forbes 2018 30 under 30 Europe, is a writer and keynote speaker who has given two TEDx Talks on art, social media visuals and the mind, and is also an advocate for artists. Read her full bio here.

We love the unique perspective and experience Marine will bring to Malaika, and we love these collaborations that allow women to lift each other up. Welcome!

It’s always great to learn about leaders, change makers and creative minds. Noella had fun participating in a unique blog article through The World Citizen’s 3 & 3, where interviewees ranging from musicians to advertisers (to international models/ philanthropists!) pose questions to each other. Our newest advisory, Marine Tanguy, asked Noella about such topics as what drives her, what mistakes she’s made and what she would do during her last night on earth.

Read Noella’s answers in the article, below, and follow up to see who and what Noella asked next:

We love when large organizations celebrate and seek out diversity and maintain social responsibility. We were honored that Malaika was a focus of Microsoft’s recent Africa Day celebration. Africa Day is ‘intended to celebrate and acknowledge the successes of the Organization of African Unity (OAU now the AU) in the fight against colonialism and apartheid, as well as the progress that Africa has made, while reflecting upon the common challenges that the continent faces in the global environment.’

The event, which became virtual due to the pandemic, was part of Afriweek, Africans @ Microsoft’s weeklong celebration of Africa Day, according to Josuel Musambaghani, a Malaika advisory board member and Microsoft employee. Food demos and a speaker series culminated in a virtual give party, celebrating Africa with two DJs, food demos and speakers while giving participants the opportunity to learn about and support organizations that are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re so grateful to the sponsorship and more than $1,000 that was raised for our programs from this event.

Thank you to Josuel, for suggesting Malaika be featured!

Who do you find to teach your teachers? Malaika enthusiastically welcomes Francois Latouche to our advisory board! Francois, vice-principal of Lycée Français de Zurich since 2019, was previously a teacher, teacher instructor and the director of a primary school. In other words, he has a strong educational background, which he is sharing with our on the ground staff.

He brings his passion for his work, particularly teaching, pedagogy and ensuring the progress of his students, to Malaika. He conducted trainings in DRC with our team and is still working closely with our amazing headmaster Sylvain remotely. So glad to have you and your educational expertise, Francois!