On a pre-Spring evening in NYC, guests flocked to the Gansevoort Park Hotel’s Restaurant Asellina to celebrate the 2nd annual New York Reception celebrating Congolese Culture, Fashion and Music. When catching up briefly with Noëlla Coursaris Musunka, Founder & CEO of the Georges Malaika Foundation (GMF) before the event, she excitedly explained that she couldn’t believe the turnout and how the foundation is near and dear to her.
About the Georges Malaika Foundation
The Georges Malaika Foundation (GMF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to unlocking the potential of African girls and their communities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) through education.
Named in memory of Noëlla Coursaris Musunka’s father, Georges, and the Swahili word malaika, for ‘angel,’ GMF empowers through education. GMF is dedicated to the advancement of African communities by providing educational opportunities to young girls. In 2011 GMF finished construction on their first Girls’ School in the DRC. 152 girls are enrolled and receive a fully comprehensive program including free tuition, school supplies, uniforms, and two healthy meals a day. In 2012 GMF built two fresh water wells as part of a collaborative effort with the Voss Foundation, and is now providing clean drinking water to the entire community. GMF’s latest project is a partnership with FIFA to build a community center that will function as a base for sports, health, education and enterprise.
The event was hosted by comedian Eddie Kadi and featured an exclusive performance by the legendary Lokua Kanza. The excited crowd packed the back of the restaurant. Music by DJ Hardy Indiigo, photography by Richard Foulser, art by Congolese painters, jewelry and fashion by talented African designers added to the additional entertainment for the night. Guest speakers included former prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Luis Moreno-Ocampo; humanitarian and daughter of Muhammad Ali Khaliah Ali, Dr. Amy Lehman, Founder of the Lake Tanganyika Floating Health Clinic in Congo, among many others.
Celebrities in attendance included Meteorologist & Reporter FOX 5’s “Good Day New York” , Mike Woods. “It’s a challenge to be educated when you deal with unfortunate instances. You become focused on surviving your current conditions, than planning for your future” he explained.
Stacey Tisdale, Correspondent, PBS’ Need to Know & Founder, Winning Play$ for women’s financial literacy, is a big supporter of GMF because “it’s such a global focus right now. People that are uneducated often struggle throughout their lives because of their lack of knowledge. What GMF does is incredible”.
The event was indeed star studded. Other celebrities in attendance were Cheryl Wills ( Award winning Anchor, Author & international speaker, NY1 News Television), Tamsen Fadal –(Award Winning Anchor & Author, WPIX News Television), Tim Morehouse – U.S. Olympic Silver Medalist & E! News Correspondent, Rachael Kun Morehouse (Associate Producer, “60 Minutes” & CBS Evening News), Camilla Barungi (Model/Entrepreneur/Activist of “Project Runway” fame), Loreen Arbus (Disability Rights Activist/Humanitarian/Philanthropist), among others.
For more information about the Georges Malaika Foundation, please click here.