Meet our volunteers: Elena

One of our most prized volunteers has brought her vitality to the school!

Elena, a graphic designer and loyal supporter of Malaika, recently visited Kalebuka to help facilitate activities, teach, and create opportunities for our girls at our school. This trip enabled the village to meet one of Malaika’s most devoted volunteers and to be able to work directly with her on the ground.  Elena worked at the School while she was on the ground, both with our girls and their teachers.

Elena shared her thoughts on the trip:

For three and a half years, I have volunteered on Malaika’s communications team, yet I had never met a single person connected to Malaika. Living in Australia and New Zealand has made face-to-face contact impossible. To make things even more unusual, I had never been to the DRC, or even to Africa. However, I am passionate about equality and education; so when I heard about the work Malaika was doing in Kalebuka, I felt compelled to help in any way I could.

It really was a dream come true when I was selected for Malaika’s volunteer program and found myself flying from Wellington to Lubumbashi in September.

The first thing that struck me about the Malaika School was that it could have been any school in USA or Europe. The children were just as delightful (and naughty) as you or I were when we were little. In fact the school was significantly nicer than the one I went to in Scotland.

The second thing I noticed was the attitude of the staff at the School and Football for Hope Center. Everybody impressed me, from the school cook to the administrator; but the teachers are truly inspirational. The care and attention that all the teachers displayed was wonderful, they work every single day to ignite sparks of knowledge and to encourage their pupils to enjoy learning.

Through my time in Kalebuka I realized that one of the biggest challenges is not simply to provide opportunities, but to make people recognize that these opportunities are available to them. People don’t ask themselves what they ‘want to be’; the immediate issues of daily survival takes priority, but this is a question which is being asked more frequently in Kalebuka, as more people are inspired through Malaika & FFH and are given the tools they need to succeed.

Elena Visit - 2
Teaching the children Old MacDonald had a Farm, with finger puppets.

Elena Visit - 4
With the teachers & staff.

Elena Visit - 3
Elena donated a suitcase full of teaching aids.