|27 Sep 2023
|Democratic Republic of Congo
|2023 Finalists Global Teacher Prize
Therese Mabaka Angelani a dedicated teacher at Malaika School in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, has embarked on a remarkable teaching journey driven by her passion for education and love for her students. Born into a family of educators, with her father serving as a local teacher, she initially pursued a religious vocation as a nun. During her time in the convent, she discovered her true calling was to educate and inspire children.
Therese's teaching approach is rooted in love, and she believes that teaching is not just about imparting knowledge but also nurturing the growth of her students as individuals. She understands the transformative power of education, especially in a community facing numerous challenges.
When she arrived in Kalebuka, she faced the daunting task of teaching students who primarily spoke only their local dialect, lacked basic hygiene knowledge, and had little interest in education. She approached this challenge with empathy, adapting her teaching methods to meet her students where they were. Over time, she saw remarkable improvements, not only academically but also in their personal development. Just one example of her impact there was dealing with a young girl who did not listen, suffered from an inferiority complex, had little self-confidence and used to run away from home a lot, but after her desperate parents put her into Therese’s care, her patience and encouragement, guidance and support over time transformed the youngster’s life into that of one of the highest achieving students.
Therese's dedication goes beyond the classroom. She actively engages with the community, offering literacy courses to parents, particularly mothers, to improve their standard of living. She addresses issues such as hygiene, health, entrepreneurship, and family planning, contributing to positive changes within the community.
As a teacher, Therese believes in preparing her students to be global citizens, using technology to show them a wide world beyond their immediate surroundings with the aid of integrated iPad and TV content. Through programs, international competitions, and virtual interactions with educators from around the world including Belgian and British schools, she broadens their horizons and encourages them to dream big.
Therese is not only a dedicated teacher but also a catalyst for improving the teaching profession, collaborating with educators globally, sharing her innovative teaching methods and learning from others. Her commitment to continuous improvement benefits not only her students but also her colleagues and the broader educational community.
Her students' achievements are a testament to her effective teaching methods. Despite facing economic challenges and coming from underprivileged backgrounds, her students excel academically, with a high pass rate averaging 75% while 97% of her students are fluent in French, and enjoy success in various reading, writing, fashion, dance and sports competitions.
Therese's school, Malaika, has gained international recognition for its significant contributions to literacy, sustainability, and educational work in the DRC. Her impact also addresses climate change and environmental awareness with her school incorporating climate change education in the curriculum and leading by example with sustainable practices including renewable energy, regenerative agriculture, and reforestation efforts.
Therese Mabaka Angelani’s exceptional teaching practice is a winning blend of love, dedication, and innovative teaching methods that have transformed the lives of her students and her community. She truly embodies the idea that teaching is not just a job but a way of life.