Noëlla Coursaris Musunka, a Congolese/Cypriot philanthropist and international model, is the founder of Malaika. (Courtesy photo)
Noëlla Coursaris Musunka, a Congolese/Cypriot philanthropist and international model, is the founder of Malaika. (Courtesy photo)

Malaika, a life-changing nonprofit organization in The Democratic Republic of the Congo [DRC], has won a World Literacy Award for its significant contribution to literacy by an organization.

The announcement was made at the World Literacy Award online event hosted by the World Literacy Foundation.

The awards were judged by a 16-person panel which included Julian. Fellowes, the writer, director, producer and creator of “Downton Abbey”; author and screenwriter Victoria Aveyard; Dr. Cree, the chair of the World Literacy Council; and Tae Keller, author of the Newbery Award-winning “When You Trap a Tiger.”

Through the incredible work of its founder, Noëlla Coursaris Musunka, judges deemed Malaika, a nonprofit organization empowering girls and their communities in the DRC through education and health, as having demonstrated exceptional and sustained depth in commitment to the advancement of literacy.

“My message to every child, to every young girl, is this: take your opportunity, go to school. Educate yourself. Become pioneers of education and pioneers of Africa and the world,” Noëlla Coursaris Musunka said in a release.

Before Malaika, the village of Kalebuka in the southeastern portion of the Democratic Republic of the Congo had no access to electricity, clean water, educational facilities or technology.

Malaika’s community-driven model has been integral to the organization’s success since its founding. Through a comprehensive, local approach, an entire village has undergone a transformative ripple effect.

Outside of the gates of the school, which educates 400 students, they are ensuring the entire community thrives.

The Malaika Community Center, opened in 2013 partially in partner­ ship with FIFA, provides a hub of learning for over 5,000 youth and adults each year.

“The World Literacy Awards put a spotlight on people and organizations who are doing exemplary and innova­tive work in the literacy sector,” said Andrew Kay, CEO of the World Lit­eracy Foundation.

“The pandemic has caused serious disruption in the lives of children learning to read and write, particu­larly those from low-income homes with limited access to books, educa­tional resources and online learning tools,” Kay said. “Malaika’s exemplary work in changing the lives of thousands of young people, mainly girls, through education, skills and improved living conditions is awe-inspiring.”

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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