Noella Coursaris Musunka is a Congolese/Cypriot philanthropist, an international model, and Founder & CEO of Malaika. A unique and fearless spokesperson and the face of leading beauty and fashion campaigns across the globe, Noella is a voice for the power of girls’ education worldwide.
Founded in 2007, Malaika is a grassroots non-profit that educates and empowers girls and their communities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Today, Malaika’s education and health programs are impacting thousands of people’s lives and are all offered free of charge.
Malaika’s work has four components:
1. An accredited school that provides a free, accredited primary and secondary education to 370 girls, ranging from STEM and coding to art, music, theater and sport.
2. A community centre that offers a range of programs to 5,000 youth and adults in the wider community each year.
3. A clean water program that supplies fresh water to over 30,000 people each year through the building and refurbishment of 20 wells.
4. An agriculture program that provides nutritious meals using locally grown produce to all students and staff.
Crucially, Malaika’s community-driven approach acts as a model that can be replicated on a global scale in communities around the world.
Noella has shared her insight at a number of world-class forums spanning the World Economic Forum in Davos to the university halls of Cambridge, Oxford, Harvard, and MIT. In 2017, Noella was named one of the BBC’s 100 Most Influential & Inspirational Women of the Year, and in 2018, she received an award at the 100 Years of Mandela celebration.
She is an ambassador for The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, an advisor at Concordia, and a member of the advisory Boards of the Segal Family Foundation and the World Football Summit.
She has been featured on an episode of Forbes8 series, ‘Creating Opportunities’. It delves into Noella and Malaika’s roots and how the school strives to close the gap in education and opportunity for girls in Africa and around the world. This interview revealed Noella’s passion and drive to change the future of her country through positive energy and quality girls’ education.
Born in Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, she told Financial Times that when she was five, her father passed away and her mother didn’t have the means to take care of her, so she was sent to live with relatives in Europe. During the 13 years she was away, she had very little contact with her mother – just a few letters – but she did have the opportunity to get an education.