Can you describe a typical work day?
I wake up before the kids and I work with the Congo team. Then I wake up my kids, I give them breakfast, go over their homework, and drop them at school. Until one o’clock I am by myself; I work and then I go get my daughter from nursery school, and I start to organize my cooking for the night. Then I go pick up my son, and I do homework with him, cooking, and bathing.
In the morning I work with any donors that are in Europe and in the evening I do all my calls from like 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. I do everything that has to do with the New York office because we have a lot of volunteers that are in the office. This year is the 10-year birthday for Malaika. Last week I was speaking to a conference of CEOs in Paris; the week before, I was speaking for Princess Caroline Of Monaco’s Forum. I was opening the conference about education and the importance of education in Africa. It’s been very intense.
Why is it important to have creative courses in the curriculum at the Malaika school?
I wanted to do a school… where they can learn, they’re stimulated mentally, they become creative, where they can think, not only with the curriculum of math, French, English, but where its different and they can have art and music.
The curriculum in Congo is quite old, so it was very important we update the curriculum we wanted to give to a school. I wanted to do a school where I could send my own children, a good environment where they can learn, they’re stimulated mentally, they become creative, where they can think, not only with the curriculum of math, French, English, but where it’s different and they can have art and music.
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The school is in the southern east of Congo and it’s in a small village where there is no water and electricity. Some of the children live six, seven people in a small room. They sleep on the floor. So for them it’s a dream to come to a school and have a chance to one day become someone, to have a dream to be ministers, or doctors, or teachers, whatever they want to do but this is a chance.
We have the school and community center we did with FIFA. When FIFA did the World Cup in 2010 they decided to do 20 community centers so they chose to work with us. We set up the community center and we used the spot as a social tool to educate about health. We teach the parents; it’s very important to emphasize the education of the parent, because most of them don’t read. We teach the parents and the community to read, write, have French classes, Swahili, sewing classes, entrepreneurship, and leadership and every year we are building wells. We have seven wells that impact more than 14,000 people. It’s very important to not only give access to education but quality education.