August 9, 2013
This fall, Voss Foundation will hold Women Helping Women events in New York and San Francisco. Women Helping Women is our global, grassroots initiative that brings together champions of clean water to impact the lives of women and their communities worldwide. Each year, Voss Foundation selects a Women Helping Women honoree for their philanthropic spirit, dedication to helping women and girls in Sub-Saharan Africa, and appreciation for the impact access to clean water has on women, girls, and their communities.
Noëlla Coursaris (2010 WHW Honoree), Saran Kaba Jones (2011 WHW Honoree) and Selita Ebanks (2012 WHW Honoree) continue to inspire Voss Foundation as they strive to make a difference in the lives of women and their communities in Sub-Saharan Africa. We wanted to highlight some of their accomplishments since their Women Helping Women recognitions.
Noëlla Coursaris Musunka
In 2010, we honored international fashion model and founder and CEO of the Georges Malaika Foundation, Noëlla Coursaris Musunka, as our first WHW Honoree. Through GMF, Noëlla continues to positively impact the lives of youth in the Democratic Republic of Congo, her homeland. GMF built and operates the Georges Malaika School for Girls, a free accredited school in Kalebuka, which opened in 2011 and provides educational opportunities for 182 girls. In collaboration with Voss Foundation, GMF built two wells that serve the school and the community. Women Helping Women 2010 funded the first well. GMF along with partners FIFA Football and streetfootballworld, is currently working on the Kalebuka Football for Hope Center. This community center will emphasize the importance of sports intertwined with quality health and education. GMF also continues to support abandoned and orphaned girls in Lubumbashi, Noëlla’s hometown, through their project New Beginnings.
Noëlla has received great praise for her accomplishments in the DR Congo. CNN’s Connect the World and CNN’s African Voices featured Noëlla, highlighting her as a “major modern-day activist” in late 2010. An ardent activist, she was a featured speaker on International Women’s day 2011 at the United Nations Investing in Women and Entrepreneurship Solutions to Address the Millennium Development Goal 3, and also participated in the 2012 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting. This year, Noëlla received one of the Diamond Empowerment Fund’s GOOD Awards for leadership for GMF’s positive impact in the DRC. Outside her work with GMF, Noëlla also volunteers for other projects, and continues her successful modeling career. She is the Ambassador for African Fashion Week London 2013. We cannot wait to see what’s next for Noëlla and the Georges Malaika Foundation!
Saran Kaba Jones
Dedicated to her goal of providing clean, safe drinking water to every person in Liberia, Saran Kaba Jones, founder and Executive Director of FACE Africa and our 2011 WHW Honoree continues to fund and implement clean water projects. Specifically, Saran and FACE Africa launched an ambitious initiative called “County by County” in 2013 that aims to provide water for all, one County at a time. Their first goal is to provide complete water coverage to over 60,000 residents of Rivercess County by constructing 250 water points by 2017. Voss Foundation has collaborated with FACE Africa to construct ten wells and manual hand-pumps as part of this initiative. However, our first project with Saran and FACE Africa, the Hope Mission School Project in Monterrado County, was funded by Women Helping Women 2011.
Appointed International Goodwill Ambassador for Rivercess County in 2012, Saran has been acknowledged by high profile organizations like CNN Inside Africa, Forbes Magazine and BBC Focus on Africa Magazine. Saran received the “Women Who Make A Difference” award from Longines/Town&Country in 2012, for which Voss Foundation’s Executive Director, Kara Gerson, introduced her. This year, the World Economic Forum listed Saran as one of its “Young Global Leaders for 2013,”and The Guardian recognized her as one of Africa’s 25 Top Women Achievers. She recently co-founded the Monrovia-based company Empire Group. With the accomplishments that Saran and FACE Africa have achieved, we are proud to call Saran Kaba Jones one of our WHW Honorees, and are excited to continue to collaborate with FACE Africa.
Our 2012 WHW Honoree, Selita Ebanks, continued to work hard over the past year to increase maternal health in Sierra Leone through the non-profit organization she partners with, Shine on Sierra Leone (SOSL). Selita, an international model and Victoria Secret Angel, and SOSL are focused on providing education, mentoring, and nutritional support to schools in Sierra Leone. Specifically, Selita strives to help SOSL save the mothers and their babies in Sierra Leone from unsanitary and inadequate health care. The maternal health care program she helped fund with the proceeds from her victory on Celebrity Apprentice, continues to offer free maternal care and post-natal care to mothers and babies.
Selita continues to educate the public on the lack of health and education present in Sierra Leone, and will proceed to help SSOL develop new partnerships. In addition, she will keep on supporting New Yorkers of Children, the Seamen’s Society of Staten Island, and the Stardom Youth Foundation in the Cayman Islands. Selita also supported 2010 Women Helping Women honoree Noëlla Coursaris Musunka this January at the Second Annual Diamond Empowerment Fund’s GOOD Awards. The passion and dedication visible in Selita, and her involvement with Shine on Sierra Leone, deserves recognition and admiration in all aspects.
We are motivated by the commitment of our WHW Honorees who embody the spirit of Women Helping Women. Their continued work never ceases to inspire us. We look forward to seeing them this fall at the Fourth Annual Women Helping Women New York Luncheon on November 14th.
Stay tuned to learn about our 2013 WHW Honoree…