Founder & Exec. Director
Yena Balekyani is the founder and Director of Congo Girls United. Born in the DR Congo and raised in diaspora, she has background in the social behavioral sciences. She is a mentor, advocate, and activist for many causes worldwide, particularly those affecting African and Congolese communities. She is an activist for human and refugee rights, cultural rights and advocates for women empowerment in social, economic, and political sectors. She is a strong believer in our God-given rights to excel, and advocates for gender equity, political representation for women and the right to education for all.
" I am excited to be involved in a movement that inspires girls and women a like to use their voice, own their confidence and strength to be a catalyst of change in their lives and those of others. My goal for CGU is not to help my sisters find a voice, because I believe we already have our voices, and we have the potential, we just need the platform, and that's how I envisioned CGU to be. Knowledge of self starts at home, and I'd like to see CGU become a home to girls and women worldwide. I hope through CGU my dream of eradicating the many inequalities and inequities holding humanity's potential back, will be achieved."
Tulia Mulibinge is the Assistant Director of Congo Girls United. She has background in education. She is currently acquiring her teaching Degree and minor in TESOL education. Tulia is also involved as a Secretary at United Babondo Youth Foundation based in the United States, as well as her community church where she also teaches at Sunday School. She is a strong advocate for women, end to poverty, educational empowerment, especially for girls and an advocate for endangered languages.
"CGU is important as it helps accumulate our women all around the world,helps those in the diaspora acculturate while at the same time helping them maintain our Congolese cultures and traditions(keeping Congo alive in us). In the future, I hope we can have community center buildings here in the states and everywhere around the world, where all of the CGU work will be done and a place for our people to come and feel at home, A place where older adults will help young ones with school work and later on work on traditional activities."
Mariam Namilinga is Congo Girls United's financial officer. Mariam oversees the management and coordination of all fiscal reporting activities for the CGU initiative. She has background in management and is currently acquiring her degree in Business Management and Accounting. She supports causes such as Kids against hunger and an advocates for girls education.
"Congo Girls United is important because we are creating opportunities for young women and men. We are giving our children a better future. We want to grow the economy for Congolese populations. We are creating something that will get us out of poverty. We are here to give motivation, inspiration, love , success, to get out of the negative and be positive.Helping and empowering Young men and women.It's most important, because we are creating some will last to generation to generation."
"I am excited to be apart of something so great that will uplift and bring so much change into people’s lives. CGU is important because it believes in investing in the lives of our young women and empowers them to have opportunities/bright futures. In being the change that we wish to see in the World this is definitely a step in the right direction that will open doors for so many people all around the world."
Director of Development
Julia Ganda is the Director of Development. She holds a bachelors degree in Social Work, and is a current Graduate student. She is currently working in the non-profit umbrella as a Youth advocate/Facilitator for G! World, which is a program that provides cultural and gender responsive, and trauma-informed programming for junior and high school girls within the Iowa City School District. She is passionate about advocating for youth of color who are often pushed out of the school system due to racial disparities. She is a strong advocate for women rights and tackling gender-based violence in the community. Advocating for those who feel voiceless and providing resources for those who are often overlooked is the reason she went into the field of social work.