Hip-hop star and actress Eve Jeffers-Cooper has been announced as a Goodwill Ambassador for Malaika. The announcement follows Eve’s visit to the Central African country with Malaika founder, Noella Coursaris Musunka, to inaugurate the very first library in the village of Kalebuka on International Women’s Day. The e-library is the newest addition to the Malaika School, a free, accredited school that provides a comprehensive and high quality education to 230 girls. The e-library has both print and e-books on Android tablets, giving the girls access to the broad world surrounding them.
The relationship began with an inquiry on social media, and mutual friends in fashion and music. The Grammy Award-winning musician and actress, who is currently starring in box office hit Barbershop 3, will advocate for Malaika in an official capacity and endorses the mission of the grassroots organization. Eve said, “My trip to the DRC to visit Malaika’s projects exceeded my expectations. I knew it would be a great environment for the girls, but Malaika goes above and beyond. You can feel the excitement from the girls when they take their seats in class. The library will be an incredible addition to the Malaika School and to their curriculum.” Eve met with the young students in Kalebuka and together they created a poem about the power of education.
Eve also performed her hit single “Who’s That Girl” for the thrilled villagers and students.
There was buzzing in the air. Co-Founder & Director Yamandou arrived in DR Congo to oversee the final installation of the solar panels and await the grand opening. Grand opening?
Noella landed in Lubumbashi and spent quality time with the students and staff. Pursuant to Noella’s arrival, long time Malaika supporters and new advocate and friend, Eve, came from across the globe to witness history in the making; the inauguration of the first library in Kalebuka! With donations from Vodacom and Segal Family Foundation, the library was opening its doors to the students and villagers, bringing printed and digital learning materials to a country with a female youth literacy rate of just over 50%.
Eve acquainted herself with the students, staff and locals and even taught a lesson on poetry and the importance of education. The girls entertained Eve with their magnanimous singing and Eve graciously reciprocated. Excitement was permeating throughout Kalebuka.
Friday was the big day of the inauguration, witnessed by many, including the press. Access to books is a ray of light- hope for thousands in Kalebuka.
Celebration at River Side Hotel continued; and why not? The grand opening of the Vodacom library is a means of empowering a community with education. Our loyal partners like African Milling, Trade Service, Psaro, Qovadis, and Unilever, and the hardworking staff at Malaika were rewarded with a private concert by Eve.
Celebration at River Side Hotel
It’s a new chapter for Kalebuka. Eve revved up the village with her music and very presence. The local community was awakened with a new venue for learning. The recent press coverage will hopefully enlighten more people around the world of the plight of the Congolese. If you missed any of the articles, in Elle, Marie Claire or Vogue, visit our press page here http://malaika.org/about-us/press/
March is Women’s History Month, highlighting contributions to events in history and contemporary society. March 8th is International Women’s Day, celebrating achievements throughout history and across nations. The doors to the inaugural kindergarten and first grade class opened in 2011 at Malaika, in Kalebuka, so we declare every day from here on in to be women’s day in the village, and honor the brave girls who are the first in their families to receive a formal education, and their confident, spirited mothers and neighbors who are acquiring new skills like reading, sports and sewing.
It’s no coincidence Noella and Eve, singer and actress, landed at Malaika this week because there is lots to celebrate. School can now accommodate 231 students through fifth grade, and with newly installed solar panels, the computer room and library are almost completed. Electricity will be steady and more efficient.
The Vodacom E-library is one for the history books: Inauguration is on Friday March 11th. The library will provide access to digital and printed reading materials for an entire community. Every day is special for the girls because they are fortunate to be able to get an education. Friday will be a magnanimous day for both the students and the villagers. Several guests will witness this monumental unveiling, and opera singer Serge Kakudji will lead the girls in song. Stay tuned and follow us on Twitter and Instagram for live updates!