What is it like volunteering at Malaika?

After two challenging years of Covid-19, we are delighted to welcome back volunteers from all over the world. We believe that every single person possesses a special gift that they can pass on to others, and therefore keep our doors wide open for those who want to do so! Are you interested in visiting the Malaika ecosystem to offer your time, skills and expertise, or simply curious what an average day looks like volunteering with our incredible staff? We recently invited some of our volunteers and ambassadors to share their experience.

Jonny Guardiani, Film maker and volunteer | United Kingdom

Marta Reed, Program Assistant for Malaika | United Kingdom

I first heard about Malaika about 10 years ago when a mutual friend introduced me to our Founder Noella. Both of my parents are teachers, so I immediately recognised that education is the key to a better the world and I wanted to do what I can to to help the girls. I’m also a mum of two beautiful girls, and want to see a world where all children, girls and boys, receive quality education. First, I started donating, then I started sponsoring a student, and I eventually joined the team in 2018!

Earlier this year, I finally got to travel to Kalebuka to work with my colleagues on the ground. I vividly remember the hustle and bustle of the city which you drive through first, and then driving on into a much more remote area until you suddenly arrive at the school gates. As soon as you arrive there is happiness, smiles and waving hands from everyone. To see and understand with my own eyes how remote the villages are where we build our wells, how far our students walk to come to school, and the daily challenges such as intermittent internet access and infrastructure problems will help me bring more value to the organisation.

For me, there was no one favourite moment or memory – the whole trip was an experience of a lifetime. To feel loved by everyone and welcomed was the most amazing feeling and to finally see that you are part of the grand project where you help so many people. You become a better person when you leave Malaika school.

To me, Malaika represents: Educational pioneers, big families and creators of dreams.

Elidyah Muabana, Recruiter and volunteer | Ireland

Diana Khasa, Senior Development Officer | United Kingdom

I came across Malaika on Instagram 5 years ago and impressed by the work that was happening in Kalebuka. It was inspirational to see what Noella was doing for the community in Kalebuka and I wanted to be part of it. 

It feels like yesterday but it’s been four years since I made a trip to Malaika school. I spent a month during the summer running some English and drama sessions for the girls. This was my first going back to Congo since I left, as well as my first time ever going to Lubumbashi and I felt at home. The vibrant and uplifting pictures and videos that we see of the school and community centre, it is exactly what you experience when you’re there.

Most days, we found ourselves spending extra time in the classroom or at the playground sharing our lived experiences. We also learnt the poem “phenomenal woman” by Maya Angelou and I’m sure the girls made her proud in the way they embodied confidence in reciting it. I love their self-worth and acceptance and particularly their drive to grow and opportunities they have through Malaika. 

That’s why Malaika is important. There’s an African proverb that says “if you educate a woman, you educate a nation” and Malaika is showing the world how to do it. 

To me, Malaika represents: a tangible solution and hope for achieving equity in a country where girls education is at the bottom of the agenda.