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Live from Abu Dhabi Connect the World takes you on a journey across continents, investigating the stories that are changing our world.

Thursday's Connector: Noella Coursaris Musunka

October 19th, 2010
11:13 AM ET

Photo courtesy: Ron Contarsy

Noella Coursaris Musunka’s story is, by any standards, remarkable.

Born in Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, she lost her Greek father Georges when she was five years old.

Her Congolese mother, lacking the resources to raise her, sent Noella to live with relatives in Europe.

Noella was educated in Belgium and Switzerland and after achieving a degree in business management she moved to London and embarked on a career in the challenging world of international modeling after "jokingly" enrolling in a competition for a campaign for lingerie brand Agent Provocateur.

Success with her modeling career brought Noella to New York where she was able to start the Georges Malaika Foundation (GMF).

The organization, named after her late father Georges, is aimed at providing educational opportunities for young Congolese girls.

In September 2008, she sponsored 16 girls' education, paying their school, food, orphanage, and uniform fees. Another project Noella's foundation worked on was to build an ecological school for 100 children.

Recently, she addressed UNICEF and the Congolese Parliament about issues that confront underprivileged girls.

Among other projects that Noella has been involved in is with KickStart, an organization that GMF helped establish itself in the Congolese market to enable them to offer efficient irrigation systems to farmers.

Please send us your questions for Noella Coursaris Musunka. Perhaps you want to know what you can do to help? Do you want to know how education changes lives?

Please leave your questions below and be sure to include where you're writing from.

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soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Jurgen R. Brul

    Hello Noella Coursaris Musunka and CNN friends,

    I would like an answer from Noella Coursaris Musunka on the following questions:

    – How do you Improve the Health, Safety and Well-being of ALL Children in Congo?

    – How are you going to Improve Congo to be HIV/AIDS, Cervical Cancer and Breast Cancer Free?

    – What can we expect from you in 2010 and 2011?

    I am awaiting Noella Coursaris Musunka’s replies.

    Greetings,
    Jurgen R. Brul
    Hometown: Paramaribo
    Country: Suriname

    October 19, 2010 at 1:11 pm | Reply
  2. eric kasamba

    Hi Noella
    Just to encourage you on your innitiatives,I am pleased that you have a vision for poor Congolese class,if you need to extend your support in Likasi and need advice please let us know.

    October 23, 2010 at 4:45 am | Reply
  3. Agnès

    moi je suis à Lubumbashi et je voulais savoir pourquoi elle s'occupe seulement de l'éducation des filles et non des garçons pourquoi cette discrimination? au moment ou il ya des garcons qui cherche aussi un appui

    November 12, 2010 at 8:36 am | Reply
  4. Majda

    Hi all

    I just joined Noella and her fantastic team and after three year's experience in the charity sector I can say that she is very dedicated and well surrounded to make it happen. Education is the key to success and the road out of poverty and ignorance and that's Georges Malaika foundation 's main focus.
    I am lucky to have the chance to work with her and her team.
    Keep up the good work Noella we are all with you

    November 23, 2010 at 2:13 pm | Reply
  5. Nooshin

    Hi all,

    I have recently had the pleasure of meeting Noella who is a truly remarkable and inspiring human being. The work she has done and continues is a great achievement for all those in the Congo, especially with her dedicated attitude in improving living conditions and access to education. Her charity is a great spotlight on Congo and I look forward to seeing the on-going developments continue.

    November 24, 2010 at 2:05 pm | Reply
  6. Neil MacFarlane

    Noella and her team is an inspiration to us all! keep up the amazing work.

    November 24, 2010 at 2:09 pm | Reply
  7. James Masters

    Noella is an amazing lady giving back to her country and setting a tremendous example for change. Never dweling on the past, looking forward and creating hope for the DR Congo through positive efforts and education. I challange all Congolese nations living outside of the DR Congo to do the same and make a difference.

    James

    November 24, 2010 at 2:11 pm | Reply
  8. Hakan Gustafsson

    Noella seems to have just an incredible drive and commitment to helping people less fortunate than ourselves. She does a great job of highlighting to the Western world what needs to be done to improve conditions in Congo.

    November 24, 2010 at 2:51 pm | Reply
  9. Ted Hart

    Noella your work is impressive. Someone of your position taking the extra step to help others in need is always a benefit. I wonder if your focus on young girls is a focus in and of itself, or if it is a gateway to supporting a broader community? It seems that by educating and strengthening these young women you help the entire village benefit.

    November 24, 2010 at 2:53 pm | Reply
  10. Oliver Katoto

    It's a great idea to fight for the education of girls in Katanga but I'd like to ask and suggest at the same time to go further and help the girls in East Congo when she gets the means, I know she can do it as I've seen how dedicated she is.

    What's her point of view on that?

    Thanks

    November 24, 2010 at 4:51 pm | Reply
  11. Cheryl

    I would like to know who is the greatest inspiration for your work? I think what you are doing for Congo is fantastic. Keep it up!

    November 24, 2010 at 5:40 pm | Reply
  12. Mehran

    Je voudrais avant féliciter Madame Coursaris Musunka d'avoir affiché de façon si remarquable sa volonté de soutien a la cause feminine au Congo. Je souhaite aussi, à cette occasion, réaffirmer ma conviction que c’est en se serrant les coudes et en suivant l’exemple de Noella que l’on peut éradiquer l'injustice sociale et de promouvoir les droits des femmes.

    November 24, 2010 at 8:43 pm | Reply
  13. Thomas Schwizer

    Finaly a organisation I can trust. Gives me the opportunity to send some help to the people who realy needs it.
    Thanks for your great angagement Noella!

    November 25, 2010 at 6:57 am | Reply
  14. olivia senghor

    Noella could become the next UN embassador...no words to say...no words to convey...her actions speaks louder.... We need more young people to take responsabilities and live by example for the world to become a better place.

    November 25, 2010 at 7:51 am | Reply
  15. Chad Kellogg

    This is a very inspiring story. I would like to know more about the design and construction of the school. What makes it sustainable or ecological? And why is sustainability important in a country in crisis, where just basic education is not available for so many children?

    November 25, 2010 at 3:49 pm | Reply
  16. Thelma Didon

    I know Noella and I am amazed at her energy and dedication to Congo. GMF is really an organisation that you can trust. Noella should definitely be an ambassador for UN. She is an amazing people person who can make a difference.

    November 25, 2010 at 9:04 pm | Reply
  17. Stuart Ridout

    Noella is quite simply an inspiration. Her dedication to the GMF cause to help the young girls in the DR Congo is remarkable. Her energy, drive and passion for wanting to provide, what is a basic right for everyone, an education, will make a significant difference to the lives of many people. Congratulations on what GMF has achieved so far and keep up the tremendous work Noella.

    Stuart.

    November 26, 2010 at 1:40 pm | Reply
  18. Caroline Verzier Ambrosi de Magistris

    I am extremely proud to have met a young lady with such an amazing drive and dedication to the GMF cause she founded – encouraging education for young girls in the DR Congo. One must not forget that the young girls today are the mothers of the nation of tomorrow where both girls and boys will benefit from this great gift she is offering them. I truly hope that she could receive more backing to be able to extend her schools to many other parts in Congo that are in dire need of such an opportunity.

    Bravo once again and Chapeau. Keep it up . As you know the work never ends

    Caroline (Founder of an English language school for children – (ages4 to 16) – a non-profit organisation)

    November 30, 2010 at 8:46 pm | Reply
  19. FAZIL Aboobacker

    Hey Noella Coursaris Musunka, what made you to transform to Modeilling Industry as career path??

    December 9, 2010 at 1:44 pm | Reply
  20. lluega

    do you think your beauty has helped you to achieve things and helped you in your causes?

    December 9, 2010 at 6:26 pm | Reply
  21. Johnny liu

    hello beuatiful noella,
    are you optmiistic at all that the congolese people's fate will bet better soon?

    December 9, 2010 at 6:28 pm | Reply
  22. Dorian

    I just want to said God bless you for everything you done. You are doing great Job to support other who need it. Also It meant a lot to people and many Congolese couldn't do what you are done. We all proud of you.

    March 22, 2013 at 1:02 am | Reply

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