The Georges Malaika Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping African girls in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to unlock their full potential by providing educational opportunities. The organization was founded last year (2007) by the well-known Congolese super model Nöella Coursaris Musunka.
The organization targets young girls, between 5 to 18 years old, providing the necessary resources to help them attend and complete their education, in a country filled of cultural stereotypes toward women and greater illiteracy. “Education is the future,” says the founder, Nöella, whose life was saved from the same fate that surrounds many of these young girls.
The story begins when Nöella lost her father, at the age of five. In Africa, fathers are considered as the source of life - better yet, the sole provider - providing money, food, well-being, and protection. The concept goes awry when a family loses its sole provider, the father. Suddenly, the everyday common things that we take for granted becomes like a drop of rain in a desert. And for families where the mother has no educational background to hold a decent job, life somewhat takes a 180 degrees turn from better to worse. On top of all these, cultural traditions and stereotypes exponentially aggravate the situation.
Family members of the dying party somewhat assumes responsibilities of everything that their late member possessed, leaving nothing for the direct family member (the wife and children) of the departed.
It seeks to empower African girls in the Democratic Republic of Congo primarily through increasing their level of education. One thing that the young entrepreneur did very well from the get-go is to surround herself with a great team; the secret No.1 for any business leader seeking success. The team is made of education and industry professionals, sharing the same goal with the founder herself. Coleman Ramer (Secretary & Chief Operating Officer) has more than eight years of experience in business management and has been involved with the foundation from day one. Adriana Henriquez (Chief Financial Officer) has more than five years of experience in the development and implementation of telecommunications sector of Africa. Having worked with many non-profits organization in the past, she strongly believes in empowering tomorrow’s potential leaders today by providing a positive environment and education today. Deron Jones (Director) has also been involved with the foundation since its conception, providing significant strategic and planning decisions regarding the operation of the foundation. He has more than twenty years of experience. Misengabo Esperance Kapuadi (Chief Program Development Officer) has experience in African education, having scouted and researched schools in Bamako, Mali. With an extensive travel experience in the African continent, she leads the ground research operations of the foundation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In November 2007, she visited Lubumbashi, where the foundation will be implemented, for acquiring more data regarding building educational facilities and obtaining current information on local construction costs. Muteba Damas Mamadou (Program Developer Officer) organizes the operation of the foundation in Lubumbashi, where he currently resides. The board of Directors is composed of: Nöella Coursaris as Founder and CEO, Yamandou Alexander, and Deron Jones. The advisory board is made of Philippe Loral, Terry Barr, Donovan Tomlinson, and Quentin Vanden Bogaert (Chief Technical Officer).
For more information regarding each member of the GMF, please visit their website at http://www.gmalaikaf.org.
With such a great team, success is definitely in the horizon for the sprouted foundation. Nevertheless, this is a task that requires more than a great management team. The participation of the public, especially the African community all around the Globe will tremendously improve the success of the foundation. By providing donation to GMF, we are assuring the future of the young girls in Africa, starting with the ones located in Lubumbashi, D.R.C. "Any donation is welcomed," says Nöella. The foundation welcomes any monetary participation from the public. With the donation, the foundation has a better chance to reach their goals and make a difference in the lives of these young girls. The Georges Foundation has been developing a system of providing educational grants, sponsorships, and provision for tuition and school materials to the sponsored girls, in order to help them succeed in their education. The goal of the foundation this year is to put at a minimum 15 girls at school by September 2008.
Although the Georges Malaika Foundation is currently focusing in Lubumbashi, DRC, the foundation’s vision is to expand throughout the Congo and Africa.