Officially launching Malaika’s technical program!

Our goal at Malaika is to listen to our community about their needs and provide them with the tools they need to sustainably work toward the change they want. 

We’re beyond excited to have officially launched our new technical program in partnership with Caterpillar Foundation at the end of last month!

On June 28, just after our very own Founder & CEO Noella arrived in Kalebuka, we gathered with current students, representatives from Caterpillar Foundation including President Asha Varghese and Group President Denise Johnson, as well as the governor of Haut Katanga province and the CEO of Congo Equipment, and the entire Malaika community. 

This new collaborative program represents huge opportunity for young women and men seeking to lift up themselves and their community. They’re learning highly marketable skills on real equipment from knowledgeable staff, paving the way for them to find work as electricians and mechanics or start their own businesses. This program has been years in the making, and we’re incredibly proud of the learning that is already taking place, and the strong female representation in the classes. 

We look forward to our initial cohort of 80 students completing their respective courses and seeing the inevitable ripple effects of this life-changing initiative! Learn more about our technical program here. 

When Ziada first came to us two years ago, she wanted to learn literacy. After giving birth, her family could no longer afford to send her to school, and she knew Malaika’s programming is offered free of charge.

She has grown into a key player in daily life at our community center, who helps mark the beginning and end of teaching periods with whistling. She is a very determined, disciplined and fierce girl, and we know her future is bright.

Lauriane is passionate about mathematics, a useful skill in a world that’s becoming ever more data and technology-driven.

She says Malaika has given her the opportunity to be opened to the world through all the programs organized at school.

This include being in contact with different people around the global, such as teachers, leaders and students, who she says inspire her.

We’re so happy to welcome Marjorie Coestier to Malaika’s advisory board! 

Marjorie, project manager and digital expert at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, spent time in DRC at our school in 2019. She shared her expertise in implementation of technology in learning and teaching practices with our girls and staff. Additionally, she also worked on coding, IT and robotics. Marjorie brings much experience in communication and technology.

She believes in the importance of collaboration and collective intelligence. We’re looking forward to Marjorie’s input on our team! See her full bio here.

Aimerance, a mother from Kalebuka community, has worked at Malaika as a volunteer for 9 years. 

“Malaika has impacted my life by assuring the future of my daughters’ education, which assures my whole life.”

Volunteers work behind the scenes to keep our school, community center and programs running smoothly, and we appreciate each and every one.

Malaika consists of a global team made up primarily of those who donate their time to further our mission empowering girls and their communities in the Democratic Republic of Congo. We wouldn’t be able to achieve our goals without all of the support we receive from individuals who serve as friends, mentors and fill so many other roles.

Purva Panday Cullman, for example, serves on our advisory board.

“I support Malaika because I believe in its community approach.  

Malaika not only transforms the lives of individual girls at its incredible school;  it touches the lives of every community member in the village of Kalebuka,” she says of her motivation to contribute to our work.

Thank you, Purva!

A well-rounded education comes from a well-rounded staff. During school closure due to the pandemic, our staff took advantage of professional development opportunities from a diverse assemblage of teachers ranging from their own colleagues to professionals across the globe.

We dream and actively work toward achieving a place where all of our staff members will be able to exchange with others in both French and English. This is quite a feat, as English is not an official language in DRC and many of our constituents come from a background speaking local languages. During lockdown, our teachers have been spending two days a week learning English at school taught by none other than superstar English teacher Rebecca Kabuya. Assisting Rebecca was our new English teacher Achille Rati, whom we’re so glad to have on board.

“The result is so successful that most of our teachers have already started expressing their ideas in English,” says Programs and Evaluation Manager Elvis Nshimba.

As our students keep pace with rapidly changing technology, so must their teachers. We warmly welcomed Flora Blanez, of Art Computer, as she gave our teachers lessons in integrating the use of iPads. She also worked on concepts in coding for children, so even students as young as the primary level should be able to develop games using robots.

Meanwhile Josuel Musambaghani (a new advisory board member and remote technology teacher) introduced our staff to yet even more languages. He worked with Donat, our IT teacher, in programming languages including HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript.

Reading comprehension:
Our teachers have also been learning remotely with new advisory board members Marjorie Coestier and Francois Latouche, in order to build their capacity in teaching reading comprehension.

Professor Jonathan has stayed very involved with Malaika during the lockdown. He worked with our teachers to enrich and reinforce the national mathematics curriculum, organizing lessons for demonstration. He also discussed methodology and approaches staff can use to teach math at all grade levels.

Teachers’ response to these learning opportunities has been exceptionally positive. They are committed to their craft and cannot wait to implement their newfound skills and valuable ideas and concepts into their daily teachings.

Don’t blow out my light. Because that is my way out. In my life like a sprout shinning like sunlight and silent death is cast out.

Where does this scream come from? From women and girls in a storm, jailed by harmful traditions whose ignorance is not salvation. But school is their way out.

With my school and dreams. I hold high rights. Armed to trample, with might, mountains in life meanders and find my way out.

Let me imagine and dream. Give me a way out to my dreams. With education as a stream.

This inspiring, beautiful poem was crafted by some of Malaika’s in order to share their feelings with a global audience during our recent Malaika Speaks! webinar hosted by Thandie Newton.