Seven weeks with Noella

Following two summers of COVID restrictions keeping our founder, Noella, at home in the UK, the Malaika team and Noella herself were delighted to be reunited for another exciting, inspiring and productive summer! 

Noella places great importance on being on the ground and engaging with our community in order to better understand and meet their needs. Her two children joined her as they normally do, which is always a joy for Noella as they get involved and play their part in supporting the programs. 

Working together in person with the team and launching several new elements to Malaika’s provision is always a key aspect of her visits and we’re excited to share everything that has taken place in the last few weeks. 

New wells

As more of the world is starting to experience drought, water is perhaps being appreciated on a whole new level and the need for our community to access clean, potable water has been a key component of our service to the community in Kalebuka. Noella was extremely pleased to inaugurate two new wells during this trip, taking the total now to 27 built or refurbished that serve over 35,000 people. 

These wells are powered by solar panels and were drilled in Sapirina and Kisaka.

Education developments

We launched a new kindergarten class in our primary and secondary school for girls, taking the number of students to 430. A truly amazing number considering that almost all of them would not have been able to access a safe and quality education elsewhere. During her visit Noella met the new students starting in September and their parents and spent time getting to know them and introducing them to Malaika. This was highly beneficial as they are young and completely new to school. 

Established in 2013, our community center continues to provide our youth and adults with skills to better their prospects, and we’re proud to be part of programs such as the National Institute for Vocational Preparedness, who are geared towards equipping our community with the necessary tools to pursue their careers.

Technical classes launched

Furthermore, at the start of her trip, Noella was able to host the launch of our new technical classes in collaboration with both Caterpillar Foundation and Congo Equipment and welcome special visitors to join the celebration. The program was launched by the President of Caterpillar, the CEO of Caterpillar Foundation, and the executive team of Congo Equipment. The Governor, Minister of Education and all of our long-time supporters and community members joined the celebration. To find out more about this, please check out this post

Sport events for the community

It was amazing to have a couple of visitors who came and supported our sport programs, including Theresa, a sport teacher/specialist from the UK, who came to volunteer for five weeks and did sports with the girls and the community center. Also, several volunteers including Katie from MIT who taught lessons and discussed career paths, and Adeline of African Leadership Academy who discussed entrepreneurship and how to apply for university, shared their time and energy supporting us in person. There was also included a tennis tournament hosted at Malaika by a local organization for individuals in wheelchairs and a football match for deaf and mute adults. 

Visits from Malaika supporters

During Noella’s visits there is the opportunity for us to grow our ecosystem of collaborators, supporters and volunteers as she and the team meet and connect with many people from various industries, including donors, sport, media and education as well as members of local government.

Our students and trainees benefited from visitors such as Congolese boxer, Yoann Kongolo, who shared some boxing skills with our youth. Local artists took some creative sessions with the students at Malaika school. The ladies who are part of our entrepreneurship and sewing program, Mama Ya Mapendo, enjoyed a visit from model and entrepreneur Nathalie Eoma, who shared some ideas and knowledge with our trainees.  

We also had the honor of giving a guided tour of all of Malaika’s programs to Mr. Dikanga Kazadi, the Academic General Secretary of the University of Lubumbashi, who also spoke to students about the University. 

Exploring future opportunities

In the coming year, our grade 6 secondary students will be graduating, so the team is highly focused on exploring the best opportunities for their continued education and training. The team visited a couple of local further education provisions, including the New Horizons University. The visit was not only inspiring for our Grade 6 students, whose dreams of attending university are now more possible than ever, but a true pinch-me moment for us all.

To further prepare them for their next steps, this summer our Grade 6 students set out on a two-week internship at a local company and benefited from a workshop, taught by Noella, where they were prepared with ample knowledge of what to expect from their experience in the workplace.

Noella visits other education providers

In order to make connections and inspire her and the team as they look to develop Malaika’s programs and access further education opportunities for future graduates, Noella visited the University of Lubumbashi, ECOPO, and the University Protestant of Lubumbashi (UNILU). She also visited other education providers that offer technical classes, including; INPP, ENABEL and the city of youth.

Team connection and development

We are grateful for our brilliant local team who are committed to implementing, teaching and offering their expertise in order to see Malaika grow and the students reach their full potential. It was also great to have our Director of Operations, Megan, join Noella and the team in the DRC for a week to further strengthen the team and their ability to work together internationally. 

Our teaching staff undertook some teaching training with François, principal of Lycée Français in Zurich, which was important for their skills development as well as ensuring we can deliver a quality education to our students. This was François’ second time at Malaika, and we were so glad to have him again.

Stay up to date with Malaika news

Be sure to follow us on social media @MalaikaDRC! 

We’re so impressed with Malaika’s STEM team harnessing technology into an immediate and concrete tool during this pandemic. Members of Covid19DRC, a new initiative between our local STEM staff and Dr. Jonathan Mboyo Esole, our special advisor, are using Malaika’s 3D printer to produce an initial 450 face shields.

These will be distributed to local hospitals at no cost, in order to protect doctors, nurses and first responders. Our goal is to reach 1000 masks, so medical workers on the front line have the protection they need. Amazing work and incredible use of technology, team!

Since 2013 the Kalebuka Football for Hope Center, opened in partnership with FIFA, has been hosting both traditional football and football for social impact programs.

Football is a powerful sport that can unite community, foster communication, and personal empowerment. Our social impact programs fuse our love of the sport with our love for education. Together, students and community members learn about pertinent social issues related to child development, women’s empowerment, conflict prevention/conflict resolution, health and wellness and environmental issues.

Through the game, we can educate and encourage conversation around key issues as well as grow as a community.

Last month, Noella travelled to New York to meet with fellow board members Alain Pakabomba and Sanjay Rawal, the US Malaika team, donors and friends to celebrate Malaika’s achievements, having grown from a school of only three classrooms to now educating 346 students. Malaika has also provides clean water to over 30,000 people and over 5,000 youth and adults with vocational and sports programs at our community center.

The day began with a board meeting where we made plans for the coming year while other Malaika team members from Boston, New York, Washington DC, England and the Democratic Republic of the Congo arrived for the event. Later in the day we welcomed guests to an intimate discussion with Noella, Country Manager Sarah Kalumba and moderator June Sarpong MBE. The event reflected on Malaika’s transformative achievements and our goals for the future. Eileen Walmsley, our strategic advisor, welcomed guests and led the introduction, while Megan Faunce, our program manager, highlighted our program. Last but certainly not least, Alain and CFO Adriana Henriquez reviewed our financials. We can’t thank our supporters enough for their commitment to girls’ education and Kalebuka’s rise!

“I had a great week in New York with Sarah, Noella and the entire Malaika team. It was fun catching up with each other and our Malaika supporters. We took advantage of all being in the same place to get even more work done and make plans for ensuring Malaika continues to provide support to the girls and community of Kalebuka for years to come.”

Megan Faunce

October 5 is World Teachers Day, and this year the focus is on the future of this essential profession.

At Malaika, we love that many of our girls aspire to be teachers – some already are as they go home at the end of their school day and teach their friends to read. The high quality education provided by our exceptional teachers are empowering these Congolese girls to be future leaders, educating others and instigating change. Thank you to all the teachers at Malaika school!

We are endlessly grateful to Barry Segal and all the other leaders and changemakers at Segal Family Foundation for their continued support of Malaika. SFF supplies local leaders with the tools they need to provide opportunity for change and community development in rural parts of Sub-Saharan Africa.

Learn more about this amazing team and the change they’re effecting with more than 200 organizations in this new video-we feel very privileged to have Noella featured in this video for the Barry Segal legacy. Thank you!

Malaika is celebrating women across the world today for Women’s Equality Day.
This day commemorates the 26th of August 1920, when votes to women officially became part of the US constitution. This day marks a turning point in history of the struggle for equal treatment of women and women’s rights.