Our five young summer volunteers returned to their respective countries after spending three unforgettable weeks at the Malaika School and Community Center in the DRC. Ayite, Victoire, Zaina, Yacine and Yannick familiarized themselves with the School’s and Center’s missions and programs before they embarked on their summer adventures. They intended to donate their time by teaching the students and villagers academic studies, sports and life skills. What they didn’t, and couldn’t, expect when they left Lubumbashi was the gratification, appreciation, memories and life lessons each received in return from working with the girls and boys at the School and the Kalebuka Football for Hope Center. Read about some their experiences below.
My experience in Congo was one not to forget. I would like to thank my parents, my uncle and my aunt, everyone working at the Community Center and the Malaika School, and Noella and her beautiful family for making this trip happen. From when I arrived to the very last day, I felt so welcomed! The girls singing and dancing as a greeting was one of my favorite parts of this whole experience. Teaching at the School and Community Center went very well. The girls are so intelligent! After I taught them the first English class, they were already greeting each other in English as if it was their first language. I also taught sports – soccer and basketball. The girls had so much energy that I couldn’t even keep up with them! They learned dribbling and shooting the ball like professionals and were very good at it.
The boys at the Community Center were something else. I couldn’t believe how well they played at such a young age. I coached them but in the end they also taught me some techniques. Strong, Papa Jerome and the other coaches do an amazing job with these kids and I’m sure I’ll be watching a few of them on TV one day.
This experience made me realize how kids are spoiled in the western world. At Malaika, the girls don’t have a lot and all they want is to be in school and to never stop learning. In the western world, most kids get what they want from their parents, yet going to school is a stretch and some perform poorly without any valid reasons. If the girls learned a lot from me, I also learned a lot from them. They taught me that in life one should never give up, no matter the difficulties encountered, and that your background should never be an obstacle to a successful future.
This has been one of my most memorable summers and I couldn’t have spent it with any better people. Everything went so well! I enjoyed my first time in this beautiful country and I am definitely planning on coming back soon and spending more time with the girls at the Malaika School and the boys at the Community Center.
After hearing about the School from Noella, I really wanted to go because I love the goal of the Foundation – to teach and empower young girls who don’t have the possibility to be educated and to help them have a brighter future. I also was really excited to discover a new country and to learn about a new culture. At the Malaika School, I had classes where I reviewed with the girls the topics they had learned this year. I became more aware of what was the situation in Lubumbashi for young girls and I was surprised and impressed by their involvement in school and the quality of work they produce in class. I found the staff to be very helpful, passionate and they were very welcoming to me. I could see the positive impact that the School has on the girls and on the community. Truly inspiring.
I went to Kalebuka with the hope of being able to teach young girls, and I came home with a new view of the world and new memories from the strong connections and relationships I made with the people in Lubumbashi. Teaching at the Malaika School was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. Not only did I get to teach and share my experiences, but I learned so much from the girls. I was excited by their intelligence and eagerness to learn. I can’t wait to go back!