Founder and CEO, Malaika, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Noëlla Coursaris Musunka, a Congolese/Cypriot philanthropist and international model, 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 passion to start a now-thriving ecosystem – Malaika. What began as a few classrooms has grown into a school for 400 girls, a community center impacting 5,000 people annually, 21 clean water wells supporting more than 30,000 individuals and a sustainable agriculture program in Kalebuka. She hopes to improve the lives of more girls, women and their communities 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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