Noëlla Coursaris Musunka
Founder and CEO, Malaika
Learning from her past, Noëlla teaches girls in the Congo to take control of their future.
Noëlla Coursaris Musunka is on a mission to educate girls. In 2007, she founded Malaika, a nonprofit organization offering girls in the Democratic Republic of the Congo free access to education and health programs.
Born in the DRC, Noëlla was sent to live with relatives in Europe at the age of 5 after her father died and her mother could no longer support her. She studied hard at school, hoping to gain the education her mother had been denied. After graduating from university, Noëlla was discovered by a major fashion brand and embarked on a successful modeling career.
When Noëlla returned to her homeland at the age of 18, she witnessed the poverty and lack of opportunity for girls in the country. It gave Noëlla the idea for Malaika. What began as a few classrooms has grown into a school for 370 girls, a community center, and a clean water and agriculture program in Kalebuka. She hopes to improve the lives of more children by expanding the Malaika model to other developing countries.
A passionate advocate for human rights, Noëlla is an Ambassador for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. She received the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s centenary award in recognition of her transformational work.
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