Africa is known for its beauty, majesty and vast mineral and lucrative natural resources of gold, diamonds, oil, copper, cobalt, uranium, platinum, and titanium. But Africa is also known as the continent that has been the target of centuries of inhuman oppression, brutal colonization and exploitation. Yet today, the greatest natural resources in Africa are the people of the continent. African people are resilient, gifted, creative, intelligent and very productive. Africa is on the rise once again with strong regional and global emerging economies.
Too much of the establishment media, however, appears to have a counterproductive fixation about only focusing on the devastating hardships of generations cosigned to abject poverty, historical neocolonial leadership contradictions, or on the misguided perception that Africans are just somehow incapable of their own sustainable economic development and social progress without the caring benevolence of the "developed world." The truth is that the wealthy developed nations of the world should care about Africa and be more supportive of sustainable development in the very continent that has contributed so much to how the global economy and international wealth have evolved during the past 200 years.
This is the reason that I take every opportunity to lift up a positive true story of innovative courage, persistent ingenuity, and real socioeconomic transformation in Africa. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is located in the heart of central Africa. Novella Coursaris, a native of the DRC, is an internationally respected supermodel, admired business leader, social visionary and philanthropist. But the most stunning attribute of this remarkably beautiful woman is her proven commitment, devotion and passion to help young girls, women and families through the Georges Malaika Foundation (GMF) that Noella Couraris founded in the DRC in 2005. The mission of the GMF as a nonprofit organization is dedicated to unlocking the potential of young African girls in the DRC through education.
About a mile down an unpaved dirt clay road off of the main highway, I was surprised to see a new modern brick building complex of multiple classrooms and other units that houses the School for Girls. Architects from Columbia University in New York City had helped to design the sustainable building development that utilizes local building materials and elements. But what was more astonishing was to observe the male and female staff of the GMF operating a small machine that was being used to actually make the bricks on site for the skillful construction of the complex of brick buildings.
Then standing there outside their air-conditioned classrooms were more than 100 little girls in their blue school uniforms standing in the hot Congo sun singing joyously "This Little Light Of Mine....I Am Going To Let It Shine to welcome back to the school the woman that they all admired and loved: "Madame Noella."
The DRC has a bright future and the prospects for economic success are encouraging. What Noella continues to do is the show that a committed person can make a real difference in improving the quality of life of others in Africa and throughout the world. Brick by brick, donation by donation, child by child, let's support the GMF. Transformation happens when people care and take action to change and to empower. Noella is a living role "model" and we all should work harder to uplift all of God's children everywhere.