Childrencanhave very different experiences of education depending on where they live in the world. For girls living in the Democratic Republic of Congo a good education can be the difference between earning enough money to feed theirfamilies andthemselves and starvation.

At the latest of our talks@ series,humanitarian and philanthropist, Noella Coursaris Munsunka, explained to our Senior Prep pupils about how girls in the DRC, a country where there are 70 million people and 7 million children don’t go to school, are being educated by the charity she founded, Malaika.

Malaika means angel in Swahili and is the name of the girls’ school she founded ten years ago. Currently the school has a population of 250 girls and not only provides education to girls from the nearby villages itoffersresources to families in a purpose-built community centre; teaching mothers about nutrition and helping them to learn tosew. Malaika also provides local communities withfresh water and electricitywhich wouldn’t be available if the school had not been built.

Girls come from the poorest of backgrounds, each family can only send one child and they must live between 1-3 km of the school, for some of the girls the only food theyeat is whilst they are at school. In the early days the school closed for the holidays but volunteers realised because the girls were not coming to school they were not eating. Now the school is open all year round offering clubs, activities and those important two meals the girls need to stay healthy.

Pupilsheard some tragicstories about some of the students at Malaika, for instanceDeborah.She was the only surviving member of her family, who all died trying to protect her fromvicious fire attack.Despiteher traumatic experiences, Deborah is stilldetermined to be a successful seamstress.

“It was a humbling experience to hear how essentials such as food and education are considered a luxury in other parts of the world.” said pupil, Katie Smart. “I feelinspired to work hard at school and beappreciative of the everyday essentials I often take for granted.”

Pupils asked lots of great questions atthe endsuch as: How long did it take to build the school?, Do they have holidays? and How long is their school day?