Together Women Rise

We’re very proud to be selected as Together Women Rise’s featured grantee this January of 2022!

Together Women Rise works to achieve global gender equality, and we’re so happy to be working together with their incredible team and community to expand vocational training for women in Kalebuka. This means more women who want to lift up themselves and better their own futures will have access to the tools to do so.

We cannot wait to see how the amazing stories that are sure to come of this partnership.

We’re delighted to welcome Christopher Lawrence, an enthusiastic and consistent Malaika supporter, to our advisory board! Chris says he joined Malaika because he saw firsthand from his parents how education can drive greater opportunities. 

“My Indian mother and Congolese father both moved to Europe to further their education and made me passionate about enabling access for all,” Chris says.

Chris has already been spreading the word about our work in Kalebuka and lending his expertise. We’re so glad to have him as part of our Malaika family!

Today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders, and we’re incredibly grateful to have Morgan, a college Freshman. Morgan discovered Malaika several years ago and has been fundraising and spreading awareness about our work in DRC since. From building a website raise money for Malaika through selling handmade candles and bath products to fundraising at school, she is a true example of leading from the heart.

This driven young woman is an incredible asset to our global community. Her enthusiasm is contagious, and we’re impressed by what a self-starter she is. In 2021 alone, she raised nearly $2,800! Following on the heels of earning her Girl Scout Gold Award (the highest possible achievement within the organization), she’s now excelling at university. In fact, she has recently decided to major in pre-medicine, and inspired by the huge difference she is making with Malaika, to minor in philanthropy and non-profit studies.

Morgan is an inspiration to us and a stellar example for our students. We’re joyously following her path and know she will continue to achieve and lead change. Thank you Morgan! Check out her products and beautiful website here.

Part of what makes Malaika so unique for our students is the fact that we’re not offering only a basic education, but one that holistically offers our girls a gamut of exposure.

We love when skilled individuals or those passionate about their field want to share their knowledge and talent with our girls. Recently, our students enjoyed a wrap-dying workshop facilitated by Arlette Ngung! This artistic young woman sent supplies and gave instructions to the girls for this creative venture.

Art is an integral part of a well-balanced education, and we’re so grateful to Arlette for her time and for making this fun project happen!

“During these weeks of lockdown, we were not allowed to go to school,” says 16-year-old Horciline Kabaso, a Grade 3 student at Malaika’s secondary school.

School was forced to stay closed in January due to government-imposed lockdown related to COVID-19. We stayed in touch with our students all the while through distributing and collecting homework, meeting in small groups and keeping an eye on our girls. Lockdown was tough on them, but they persevered.

Horciline wishes to be a lawyer after her studies.

“I took this opportunity to help my parents with daily chores, read my notes, and do the exercises that school provides us with every week. Working alone is good, but sometimes challenging! It was difficult to solve equations in math, chemistry, and physics. But when school reopens soon, I will get help from my teachers and classmates,” she says.

I will keep being positive and optimistic that Covid19 will fully disappear one day and let us lead our lives normally. I believe in my studies and in myself, and I want all the girls to believe in their potential and to keep learning.”

Update: School reopened Monday, Feb. 22 and Horciline is now back at it, tackling her studies and staying positive.

“My name is Josephine Mwange. I am 16 and am in Grade 3 of Malaika’s secondary school. When I grow up, I want to be a businesswoman. I heard the school will reopen soon, and I’m very excited!” said Josephine earlier last month- and she heard right! School reopened on Feb. 22 following another lockdown.

“I want to encourage all Congolese girls to go back to school and catch up with what we have missed in these two months. I wish them good luck and hope they work hard.”

The importance of local, sustainable agriculture has become all the more apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic. Food shortages and inflation highlighted the crucial role of the environment and farming.

At Malaika, our agriculture program serves so many purposes. First and foremost, it serves as an important source of sustenance for our students and staff, who receive two healthy meals each day. For many of our girls, this is a primary source of nutrition. With the onslaught of COVID-19, the price of food dramatically increased in DRC with the closing of the border. We were able to distribute staple items such as maize and produce to more than 7,000 individuals in our Kalebuka community at a time when it was needed most.

This program also serves as an excellent educational opportunity in more ways than one. Our students help our with the farm and learn about sustainable practices and the importance of taking care of their environment while doing so; we’re also able to teach the surrounding community about sustainable farming here. Additionally, we employ local people through this program, providing jobs and thereby boosting the economy.

Malaika’s programs are rarely unilateral; rather, they symbiotically work in tandem with each other to create the most multifaceted impact. Our agricultural initiative is a beautiful example of an ecosystem within our ecosystem, where learning meets function and produces concrete solutions.

We’ve recently welcomed a new generation of children into our community center programming that we’d like to transform into future change agents through sports.

“They started learning about self confidence through oral expressions as our activities purposefully give them the opportunity,” says Programs and Evaluation Manager Elvis Nshimba. “We hope to help them grow in mind as they go with us through this process.”

Our campaign to enroll more youths into this initiative is part of our efforts to achieve gender equality and empower women and girls with Global Goal 5 (of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals). So far, we have more than 30 participants aged 5 to 7, and that number is growing. We not only foster a message of equality through girls and boys playing together starting at a young age, but we also use sport as a platform to address important social issues.

It’s so exciting to see a new cohort of youth join the Malaika family as they take part in programming that will allow them to learn, connect and thrive.

When Russell Kisimba was in Grade 8, his family could no longer financially support his education, and he was forced to drop out of school. We learned of this talented young man’s story and his passion to learn, and we’ve since been facilitating his education.

“Malaika sent me back to school, and I’m now in Grade 5 in high school!” Russell says.

“My dream is to become a cameraman. I’d like to combine it with computer science, and I’m determined to pursue my goal.” Russel is one of the amazing photographers behind many of Malaika’s beautiful photos, and we never tire of viewing his work. We can’t wait to see where his lens takes him next.

“My name is Alice Kumwimba Balabakaji. I am 9 years old, and I am a student at Malaika school in Grade 4. In class, I like French, English, computer science and playing football. During this Christmas holiday, I didn’t go to school, but I learn a few household tasks at home like cleaning plates, sweeping, mopping and more.

When I grow up, I’ll be a doctor. I really miss saying hello to my friends and playing with them!”