Malaika to host its first official graduation ceremony this July

LUBUMBASHI, DRC, INSERT DATE OF PRESS RELEASE Malaika, the NGO founded by Congolese model and activist Noella Coursaris Musunka to empower the next generation of leaders through access to education, water, and healthcare, is hosting its 2023 graduation ceremony on 27 July at the Malaika School. Marking a historic moment for the organization, the ceremony will celebrate the graduation of 17 girls, who have received an education from Malaika for the past 12 years. Hip-hop star and actress Eve, a longstanding Malaika Ambassador who has been named as President of the First Cohort of Malaika Students, will be in attendance as the graduation ceremony’s guest of honor.

Over the past 15 years since its founding in 2007, Malaika has grown into a fully-fledged ecosystem that is transforming an entire community in the Democratic Republic of the Congo from the ground up. Today, the Malaika School opens its doors to 430 girls each day, providing a free, accredited primary and secondary education, with subjects ranging from STEM and coding to art, music, theater, and sport. The Malaika Community Center offers life-changing community programs to 6,000 youth and adults each year and is home to a technical program (supported by the Caterpillar Foundation) that trains and certifies future electricians and mechanics. Additionally, Malaika’s clean water program caters for over 35,000 people each year through the building and refurbishment of 29 wells, and the agriculture program helps feed two nutritious meals each day to students and staff. All of these services are provided free of charge.

“This summer marks a big milestone for Malaika, as we say farewell to our very first cohort of students. These 17 students are embarking on the next chapter of their lives, taking everything that they’ve learned at Malaika with them,” commented Founder & Executive Director Noella Coursaris Musunka. “Malaika adopts a community-driven approach to empowering our next generation, and our impact is felt not just by our students, but by their families and the community at large. Our students will always remain part of the Malaika family, and our work doesn’t stop when our girls close the school’s doors behind them.”

Malaika Ambassador Eve, a hip-hop star and actress, commented: “Coming together as one big Maliaka family this summer means so much as we celebrate the past 12 years of education for these 17 girls and set them off on their next chapter. Malaika is rewriting the narrative for girls and their families, and I couldn’t be prouder to be part of the Malaika family.”

Crucially, Malaika has prompted a much-needed dialogue around the importance of local, community­driven models to driving impact on a global scale, highlighted by our launch of the Malaika Model Toolkit during last year’s UN General Assembly week in New York City.

Malaika has been working collaboratively with its students to create tailored and comprehensive higher education pathways, making sure that the girls are equipped with the resources and tools to follow their dreams.

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