Coursaris Musunka

07:00 – Kalebuka, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Map of Kalebuka, Democratic Republic of the Congo

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Noëlla is already outside building a new school

The Story of Noëlla Coursaris Musunka & Malaika in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Outside the industrial city of Lubumbashi on the southeastern edge of the landlocked Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), there is a small village called Kalebuka. In that village today stands an accredited all-girls school, a community center and soccer field built by FIFA, and a network of clean water wells, all free to the community.

Twelve years ago, it was a different scene. Twelve years ago, Kalebuka resembled most of the other neighboring villages in DRC – scattered schools, virtually none for girls, few health resources, and no direct access to clean water. And then, as the locals will tell you, an angel appeared. In 2007, Noëlla Coursaris Musunka, a Congolese-Cypriot philanthropist and international model, returned to her native country to create an organization she named Malaika.

In Swahili, ‘malaika’ is the word for ‘angel.’ And the grassroots nonprofit by the same name has been a source of light and love for the community in Kalebuka. Through educational programs, health resources and clean water infrastructure, the organization aims to empower Congolese girls, their families, and their communities. Over the past decade, Noëlla and Malaika have educated thousands of students, offered free sports, health and wellness programs for the village at large and built 17 clean water wells that service over 30,000 people.