Caterpillar Foundation

We’re so happy to be celebrating women across the globe this month in honor of International Women’s Day 2021 on March 8!

This year’s theme is ‘choose to challenge,’ and “Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day,” according to

Through our work, we choose to challenge norms that don’t always allow girls to reach full potential. Instead, we’re doing everything we can through our work in Kalebuka and our global collaborations to raise up and empower women and girls everywhere!

SIA-Africa chose Noella Coursaris Musunka as their person of the month for February! SIA (Sustainable Initiatives and Alliances for Africa) is an organization that aims to ’empower the youth of Africa by encouraging them to embrace science, technology, engineering, digital media and nation branding skills, as a path to entrepreneurial innovation, wealth creation and economic independence.’ We love and absolutely relate to their mission, which aligns closely to ours.

Noella received this award in order to  honor her ‘vision, passion and support to the people of Africa,’ and we could not be more proud. Thank you SIA-Africa!

Earlier this month, Noella joined a breakfast panel with leading fundraisers in the field to talk about the theme ‘Talent and Transformation.’ She loved taking part in this event, a seminar cohosted by the Institute of Fundraising and the Guardian.

Richard Furness, managing director of consumer revenues and publishing, shared about the successful journey of transformation to one that is donation-led. Glad to have had Noella be a part of this insightful discussion to share her perspective and learn as well!

Now more than ever, reliable access to water is essential. Water security has always been at the forefront of our community support, and times such as these are a reminder of the important role it plays in keeping people healthy. Safe water is necessary for drinking, cooking, cleaning and especially important right now- washing hands.

In Mahembe Village, we worked with community members to choose the site of our 20th well. A huge thanks to Angel Cosmetics Beauty for their partnership in bringing this essential resource to Mahembe!

English Version (Version française ci-dessous)

Dear Malaika family and friends,

As of Friday, 3/20, we have closed our school and community center for at least 30 days to help curb the spread of COVID-19 in the DRC. We are operating in accordance with DRC government guidelines and in the best interest of our community. We will continue to provide meals to our students in very small groups, and are communicating with community members on best practices to stay healthy.

The impact of the pandemic around the world will be profound and Kalebuka is no exception. This is a community where food security and a lack of sanitation infrastructure were already existing obstacles in everyday life. Most of the residents will lose the little income they earn due to the new country-wide restrictions. We are currently strategizing on how Malaika can safely support the community with basic food items during this crisis.

Our success has always been driven by the care and generosity of our supporters across the world. In the coming days, as we adjust to this new reality, we will share ways that you can help our girls and our community weather this storm.

Thank you for supporting us now and always.

Version française

Chers parents et amis Malaika,

Depuis le vendredi 20 mars 2020, nous avons fermé notre école et notre centre communautaire pendant au moins 30 jours pour aider à freiner la propagation de COVID-19 en RDC. Nous fonctionnons conformément aux directives du gouvernement de la RDC pour servir au mieux les intérêts de notre communauté. Nous continuerons à fournir des repas à nos élèves en très petits groupes, et nous communiquons avec les membres de la communauté sur les meilleures pratiques pour rester en bonne santé.

La pandémie aura un impact profond dans le monde entier et Kalebuka ne sera pas épargné. Cette communauté fait déjà face à des obstacles dans la vie quotidienne, tels que l’insécurité alimentaire et le manque d’infrastructures sanitaires. La plupart des habitants perdront le peu de revenus qu’ils gagnent dû aux nouvelles restrictions nationales. Nous sommes actuellement en train d’élaborer une stratégie visant à déterminer comment Malaika peut soutenir la communauté en toute sécurité en lui fournissant des denrées alimentaires de base pendant cette crise.

Notre succès a toujours été le fruit de la bienveillance et de la générosité de nos supporters à travers le monde. Dans les jours à venir, alors que nous nous adaptons à cette nouvelle réalité, nous vous ferons part des moyens que vous pouvez utiliser pour aider nos filles et notre communauté à surmonter cette épreuve.

Merci de nous accompagner maintenant et toujours.

Our students are keeping their spirits high as always though music, dancing, sports and learning- and taking extra good care of their personal hygiene, of course. Keep up the positivity girls!

At the Malaika school, our students learn about the importance of good hygiene and put it into practice! We are wishing good health and safety to all as we focus on keeping our students well.

We love meeting talented individuals who come from DRC and have become successful in their field, and we love them to exemplify to our girls what they can achieve. Joel Yawili was born in the DRC and moved to South Africa when he was 4 years old due to conflict in the nation. As an adult, he settled in the US, where he forged his way into New York’s tech industry by teaching himself how to code.

Today, Joel works for a large social media company and has recently found a passion for videography as a means to both convey his emotions and positively influence the world at large. We are so grateful to have such an inspiring and talented person create this video about the beauty and potential in the Congo and our work empowering a rural community through education and health programs. Take a look at this moving and visually stunning video created by Joel about the challenges and progress in DRC and about Malaika.