Meet An African Model Who Founded A School In Her Country

It is easy to complain over all the things that are not working. How about looking at ways we can make things work so that our communities will be better? Noëlla Coursaris Musunka did just that.  An international model, Philanthropist, and social justice advocate who is also a fierce advocate for Africa’s youth and champion for the cause of girls’ education.

Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to a Cypriot father and a Congolese mother. She lost her father at age 5, so her mother sent her to Europe where she stayed with relatives. Returning to the Congo at age 18, she saw the poverty level and lack of opportunities for women, she promised herself that she would one day make a difference.

She went into modeling after obtaining a degree in Business Administration. This gave her the opportunity to appear on pages of fashion magazines and travel the world living her passion.

In 2007, Noëlla founded Malaika, a nonprofit grassroots organization that empowers Congolese girls and their communities through education and health programs. Malaika’s projects are impacting thousands of lives and are all offered completely free of charge. Noëlla works tirelessly to cultivate the power of education and has reached out beyond the village of Kalebuka to the nation of the DRC and the continent of Africa. In order to engage with surrounding communities and invite them to be a part of her education revolution she built a school which offers free education in music, sports and computers. She also runs a community center that supports more than 5,000 people a year with training in sewing and literacy. In addition to these, she has a farm which provides food for the school. All together these three projects benefits over 16,000 people.

Noëlla’s efforts have made her one of the most sought-after speakers on the subject of girls’ education. An advocate for peace, she has spoken to countless audiences as far-ranging as UNICEF, the UK Parliament, and has appeared several times alongside President Clinton on Clinton Global Initiative panels. Noëlla has been interviewed about her philanthropic work on global news outlets such as CNN and the BBC. She has given a TED talk and presented in front of top executives from multinationals like SAP and T-Systems. Noëlla has been named one of ELLE’s incredible women shaping Africa and one of Lifestyles’ most powerful women in philanthropy.

Alongside being a mother to two young children, Noëlla continues to work as a model but now her passion is to model with meaning. She uses her profile to raise awareness for causes she believes in as a mother, a feminist, and a believer in the intrinsic human right to education, health, and opportunity.


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