Noëlla Coursaris is not only a well-known model, but she is also a self-described “fierce advocate for Africa’s youth” and an active philanthropist. As a successful fashion model in London and NYC, she has regularly graced the pages of magazines like Vogue, Elle, and Vanity Fair. Her true passion, though, is giving back and championing human rights. In addition to using her platform and voice as an advocate and influencer, Noëlla has started a nonprofit and is a sought-after speaker around the world on girls’ education.
Ms. Coursaris was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but grew up in Switzerland from the age of five after her father’s death. She didn’t return to her homeland or see her mother again until she was eighteen. It was on this return visit that she decided to do what she could, one day, to make a difference. Upon returning to Europe, she pursued an education in plans to be a businesswoman. These plans were derailed when she accidentally fell into a modeling career. Her success as a model and the connections she made, however, were what later made her so successful as a philanthropist. She was able to raise funds, awareness, and celebrity support that allowed to her to follow through on her commitment to making a difference in her homeland.
Coursaris could have lived a life of glamour and luxury, as CNN puts it, but she decided instead to dedicate her life to those less fortunate. While she still works as a model, this passionate and determined woman is usually focused on the causes she cares so much about. She founded the nonprofit Georges Malaika Foundation in 2007, an organization committed to improving the lives of the Congolese people. Running her nonprofit is a full-time job and one she is grateful to do. One of Malaika’s projects was building a school for girls in a remote village, a huge undertaking that also involved building the infrastructure, including roads for villagers to reach the school. The school currently provides education for 150 girls. Noëlla believes that by educating a girl, you are educating a nation. Malaika has also created community centers and dug several wells in the Congo.
Noëlla raises her two children and runs Malaika from the UK, but regularly returns to the DRC.