Back to School 2021

Our students are heading into the new school year ready to learn, to think, to innovate, to play and to take on the world.

Despite the difficulties of the last year and a half, our girls have continued to excel in their various fields, diving into ever-more advanced technologies, achieving in sports, embracing their creative sides and looking toward their futures. Read on about our latest news, our goals and our upcoming plans.

Malaika Wins Award!

Literacy has long been at the core of Malaika’s work both within our school and community center. We believe the ability to read is a basic but crucial skill to everyone in our community should have access. We were incredibly honored and proud, therefore, to win a World Literacy Foundation award last month! Read more about this amazing accomplishment here.

Growing Within and Moving Up

Since our foundation nearly 15 years ago, we’ve regularly increased our student body as capacity allows in order to impact more girls and send an even wider ripple throughout the Kalebuka community. We’re proud to now welcome 400 girls through our doors each day, girls who will teach the skills and knowledge they learn at school to siblings, neighbors and even parents. An educated woman is very likely to give back to her community, and we’re seeing this statistic become a reality through our students and their families.

As we grow our school, our first classes of students are quickly approaching graduation. We’re in the midst of establishing relationships with universities near and far, in order to gain a better understanding of how we can best prepare our students to pursue higher education. We’re also collaborating with nearby industry leaders in order to create internship opportunities in relevant, lucrative fields such as electrics and engineering. It’s very exciting to imagine our students’ future successes, and we’re laying the groundwork to allow them to pursue whatever paths they wish.

Change a Life, Empower a Village: Sponsor a Malaika Girl

We’re in the midst of a campaign to give more girls the incredible gift of an all-encompassing, accredited education that will propel them into a healthy, successful future, and we need your help. 

A sponsorship is an incredibly impactful action that will change a girl’s life without significantly impacting your budget. Whether you skip one dinner out each month or share the $65/month fee with 11 friends, you can be connected with your own student and follow her progress throughout the school year. 

Help us find sponsors for 10 new girls this year, so these incredibly driven, potential-filled young women can have the chance to choose their own lives, paths and future. Read more about the joys of sponsorship here, or sign up to sponsor a girl

“Every human being on our planet deserves an education, and it is a great honour to be able to help in a very small way to make that happen,” says Malaika advisory board member and sponsor Rosie Rafferty.

“I’ve been sponsoring Carmelie for a few years now and will make sure I can carry on doing so until she finishes her education. I know by helping Carmelie get a good education she will be able to help her family and others when she is older so there is a ripple effect. What Malaika provides for children is not just a great education but also healthcare, food, clothing and a safe and nurturing environment.

The school is run by an excellent dedicated team, and I know every penny I give is spent on helping the girls achieve their dreams and potential.”

Rosie loves the wide impact she knows she is making through her sponsorship and believes others should follow suite.

“There are still many girls at the school who need sponsors so if you are in a position to help and make a difference please do!” To sponsor and become connected with your own girl, email us at or donate here today.

Literacy plays a huge role in Malaika’s work with all members of the community, from mothers to daughters and fathers to sons. That’s why we were so deeply honored and proud to win the World Literacy Foundation’s award for significant contribution to literacy by an organization at the World Literacy Awards!

We strive to educate our community in order to empower them to pursue their own dreams and write their own lives, and it is incredible to be recognized for our work in Kalebuka.

According to Andrew Kay, CEO of the World Literacy Foundation, “The World Literacy Awards put a spotlight on people and organizations who are doing exemplary and innovative work in the
literacy sector.”

“The pandemic has caused serious disruption in the lives of children learning to read and write, particularly those from low-income homes with limited access to books, education resources
and online learning tools. Malaika’s exemplary work in changing the lives of thousands of young people, mainly girls, through education, skills and improved living conditions is awe-inspiring. The judges were taken aback by the achievements and contributions to literacy by this organization,” he said.

Noella, who has devoted her time to growing Malaika with her team for nearly 15 years, was overcome with tears of joy when Malaika’s name was announced and she accepted the award.

“I feel humbled, emotional and proud to say that Malaika has received the 2021 World Literacy Awards. Over the past 14 years, Malaika has grown into a fully-fledged ecosystem that brings education, healthcare, and clean water to an entire community in the Congo. I believe every child should be able to access an education, and that’s why it’s such an honor to receive this prestigious award,” she said.

We know the importance of literacy and education in general, and we’re looking ahead to the learning that is still to come.

For Lumière Bwana Nsenga, the feelings toward her sponsor go beyond a formal relationship. She considers her sponsor to be like a mother to her, because in her eyes, her sponsor cares for her as she would for a daughter.

“She helps me by paying for my studies and spending her money, so I can study in better conditions and have a quality education,” says Lumière, a 7th primary student at Malaika.

“Education is so important, because through it I can make my dreams come through, prepare well for my future and help members of my community.” Our students love catching up with their sponsors, and sponsors are always delighted to learn about their students’ personalities, latest news, dreams, families and progress in school. To join in on this incredibly special relationship, email us at or donate here to connect with your own student!

Lockdown for our students meant spending their time at home, with no electricity, no internet- not even running water. Still, teachers distributed homework packets and our girls diligently studied despite their less-than-ideal conditions. This made it all the more impressive when all 27 of the Year 6 students who took the exam passed! They worked hard and often independently to prepare, and their perseverance paid off. To add to this amazing result, nine of our brightest Year 5 girls took the test and passed as well.

This means they’ll get to jump a grade and take on their education at full speed. This is the forth year in a row our students have achieved this feat, meaning every single one of Malaika’s Year 6 classes have passed with 100 percent.

Our students are hungry to learn, and they exhibit their drive to better themselves despite their circumstances. And in turn, Malaika’s teachers mean to give these girls every tool they can and teach to them as individuals with individual needs. Everyone has worked so hard to continue education, support and opportunity during this pandemic, and we’re truly amazed at what they’ve accomplished. Hongera sana & félicitations!

Ending climate change, reducing poverty, and creating equality are far more than just trending topics. In 2015 the United Nations came together to develop 17 sustainable development goals to create a better future for our world and its inhabitants. As an organization, we’ve made it our mission far before 2015 to embody these very goals. We’ve developed programs and an organization that consistently works towards a better, more sustainable future for all. Because sustainability is not a trend, but rather the only solution moving forward. 

Here are just a few of the ways Malaika feels both aligned with and deeply committed to the #RoadTo2030. 

Through education

In Sub-Saharan Africa, there are currently over 50 million girls unable to receive a basic quality education. For almost 10 years Malaika has been dedicated to providing access to both primary and secondary education to over 300 of these girls. From the very beginning, our mission has been to widen the scope of education, specifically targeting young girls in our efforts to bridge the gender gap. With classes in French, English, information technology, sciences, and more, we aim to empower young women by challenging them, strengthening their critical thought, and supporting them in their right to an education. We believe that education is the key to empowering young women with the resources to move towards true gender equality. Without a constant push towards more access to education, gender equality cannot be reached. At Malaika, we are doing all we can to even out the playing fields. 

Through our community center 

In addition to education and gender equality, our mission aligns strongly with the UN’s goal of a more inclusive and sustainable economic growth. Working towards full employment for all, we offer free literacy and vocational training for over 5,000 community members of all ages. Our Kalebuka Football for Hope Center gives the community a place to foster their own innovations while learning about everyday issues that directly affect them. To have a communal space that encourages the accumulation of knowledge, personal growth, and more resilient infrastructure means that we can actively make steps towards completing the UN’s Road to 2030. In partnership with FIFA, we opened the center agreeing on the mission of a more inclusive space to promote further industrialization and learning. By providing regular access to the internet in our centers we are giving an opportunity for the community members to expand their knowledge and communicate with an outside world that was previously inaccessible to them. In doing so, we hope each member can be inspired by empowering them with opportunity and working towards a more sustainable economy with decent work for all.

Through water and health

One of our main initiatives is to provide access to clean water. Clean water and sanitation are the fundamental building grounds for reaching the rest of our goals. Without access to clean water the risk of disease increases exponentially, and child mortality rates soar. Fresh water is essential for safe hygiene, disease prevention, and creating an acceptable standard of living that should be fundamental for all. In the most rural sections of Africa it is common that women are met with the task of trekking for hours in search of water for their families. It is these same women who lose out on the opportunity to both learn and work, which inevitably furthers the gender divide. In order to combat both the health risks and provide equal opportunity, we have made it our mission to ensure that there is a far greater access to fresh, drinkable water. With 20 wells so far, each year we provide water to over 35,000 people in the community. In creating even more wells in the future we will have the opportunity to work towards a greater well-being for all our global citizens. Other health initiatives we have taken have included more than 11,000 mosquito nets to prevent malaria, as well as free sanitary products for all menstruating females. This enables them to stay in school while on their periods, live healthy lives, and relates back to our goal of equal education. 

Through agriculture

The number two goal on the UN’s Road to 2030 is to end world hunger and to promote sustainable agriculture. We grow an organic garden full of fruits and vegetables right onsite and use those crops to provide nutritious meals for our students and staff. Many of our students lack food security, and these are the only two meals they receive during the day. Students that are starving do not have the capacity to pay attention. We believe education and hunger are strongly interconnected. Our efforts to provide nutrient rich breakfasts and lunches are just the base level of what we can do to actively fight world hunger. We also include out-of-school youth conservation and farming programs in order to promote the continuation and expansion of these healthy, sustainable practices. At Malaika we make it a point to listen to the needs of our community. If that means they would like more programming that teaches them how to create food-based businesses, or if that means providing extra meals from time to time, we try our best to adapt. With our entire school 100% solar powered we always have sustainability in mind and fighting food hunger at the top of our priorities. 

“During the extended lockdown, I wasn’t happy as schools closed again! I felt unsafe, as I moved alot from home selling vegetables across the village. Malaika school is our house! I’m so excited to be back to school; I cannot wait to see my friends and teachers again. The first thing that I want to do is to share my motivation with other girls, then work hard in class.”

-Amida Kiluba, Grade 4 Secondary