Traveling for Tennis

Tennis continues to be an increasingly popular sport among Malaika’s girls, as they continue to up their game and achieve. Our student Louise, who has excelled in tennis throughout the past few years, recently had the opportunity to travel with the Mazembe Sports Club to compete in a tennis tournament.

This is an incredible opportunity she was able to take part in because of her hard work and dedication, and it’s sure to expand her horizons. We’re so proud of Louise and of all of our girls for their drive in school and on the court.

The staff at Malaika consists of individuals who excel in their own fields and carry true passion for empowering the students and community they work with.

We love how these teachers, coaches and volunteers serve as role models to our youth, exemplifying what they can achieve when they work hard and pursue their dreams.

Such is the case with Maguy Safi Makanda, a physical education teacher and coach at Malaika. Maguy shows our girls how strong a woman can be and what amazing feats she can accomplish. She skillfully leads our girls on the field and court- she even led several to a national tennis competition invitation. Recently, we were amazing to learn that she was selected as coach for the Congolese women’s football team! Such an inspiration.

We can’t wait to see what Maguy will do next, and we’re so grateful to have her on our team.

Fashion with meaning is gaining momentum in London and beyond! Noella recently collaborated with sculptural label Georgia Hardinge to introduce the iconic Mila dress. Designed to support Malaika, a percentage from each dress sold goes toward our work in Kalebuka.

We’ve already seen a number of women rocking this dress, from June Sarpong OBE (a huge, longtime Malaika supporter) to model Ali Tate

We’re so excited to have Noella participate in yet another amazing, sustainable and cool fashion campaign with a mission to help our girls. Thank you to Georgia Hardinge for supporting us!

Plamedie walks 45 minutes each way to get to school every day.

For her, the oldest in a family of five children, this trek is well worth it.

“Malaika has changed my life, which is now different from my brothers’ and sisters’. I can dream big and believe that my dream will be transformed into reality,” the grade 12 student says.

She says her favorite classes are mathematics and computer science, and she loves tennis and ping pong.

“I’d like to develop my tennis skills to become a famous tennis star following other famous stars in the world.” We love these aspirations, and we know Plamedie will go far!

We surely have some future businessmen and businesswomen at Malaika’s community center! The students recently learned about business and entrepreneurship through an app created by IFA, a Brazilian tech group. Programs and Evaluation Manager Elvis Nshimba led the students in their first workshop, ‘My Own House.’

“I taught them that entrepreneurship is not only about making and investing money, but is also about transforming dreams into opportunities,” Elvis says.

He says he was impressed by the students’ abstract conceptions to make quick huts to serve as houses.

“In the brainstorming stage, I appreciated how creative they were.” This was a great, fun way to enhance our students’ educational opportunities to better prepare them for whatever futures they choose to pursue.

With the reopening of Malaika school after lockdown was lifted, our students have had several enriching visits. Not only did friends from supporting organizations come to learn about our programs on school grounds, but the girls also had the chance to go on a great field trip.

It was a thrilling and very educational experience for our students and staff to visit Caterpillar Inc and learn up close about various machines and operations. This was a chance to explore potential trainings for Malaika’s students in areas such as electricity, electromechanics and more. The boys and girls who came from our school and community center absolutely loved the opportunity to to drive giant trucks (in simulators, of course!)

We also hosted our friends from Caterpillar, who continue to support our girls and enable them to work toward their dreams. It was great to see them on their home turf and ours!

“I’ll keep playing and being involved in sport. A few years ago, I was nothing, but thanks to sports, I blossomed,” says Viviane, who plays soccer at our community center. She had stopped playing for a long time, as her father could not afford to pay her studies.

“But through sports, I went back to school and expect to graduate next year. Very recently my parents divorced, and this situation is not peaceful for me, but once I get in the pitch to play, I forget everything and that is the only moment I live peace,” she says.  

Our sports program offers more than just a source of fun, as it creates a safe platform for our students to learn and talk about health and social issues. And it allows us to learn more about our amazing students and community members, like Viviane!